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Former Cowboys Watch

Granty

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here's one for the 'old timers' :p

Napolioni Kuricibi

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http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=305333

Sprints, 7s and NRL

Ernest Heatley
Monday, May 11, 2015

HE was once a star high school athlete with the world at his feet. However cruel injuries cut short Napolioni Kuricibi's promising sports career forcing him to retire when he was only a 25-year-old.

The lanky 37-year-old native of Votua Village on the Coral Coast made a name for himself in the sprint events of the 1996 and 1997 Coca-Cola Games.

Shortly after his feats on the athletics track for Ratu Kadavulevu School, he was drafted into the national sevens team which included the likes of Waisale Serevi, Jope Tuikabe and Lemeki Koroi.

This was a run most village boys could only dream of.

Kuricibi represented Fiji at one tournament and shortly afterwards was drafted by the North Queensland Cowboys rugby league development squad.

"I started off with the under-20 side and made my way into second grade," he recalls.

Blessed with blinding pace, Kuricibi was determined to make the Cowboys' first grade side and had his dreams realised after being a try scoring phenomenon for his second grade team.

"I sent over $6000 to my father just from what I earned playing for second grade. I couldn't believe I could earn that much in just a short time doing something I loved," said the former utility backline player who is the younger brother of former New Zealand sevens player, Save Tokula.

Unfortunately, Kuricibi only managed to play about five games for the Cowboys number one side in 1998 before injury cut short his promising career.

The chance to play alongside his idol Noa Nadruku, and Australian stars such as Paul Green, Tim Brasher and Julian O'Neal will stay with him for the rest of his life.

"I only played a few games of first grade but it taught me a lot and it was an honour to play alongside some of the big-name players," he said.

However, the rigours of rugby league, considered the toughest contact sport in the world, hampered his development and eventually saw him in the surgical room.

Kuricibi had left-knee reconstructive surgery and had calf and ankle injuries which effectively ended his playing career.

He was on a plane to Fiji in 2002 and after a stint working in a few resorts in the Korolevu area decided to return to the land.

Votua, is also the village of Newcastle Knights and NSW Blues flyer Akuila Uate and former Fiji Bati player, Samisoni Walai, the man coined Fiji's Mal Meninga.

The experience of playing in Australia, and being exposed to professional systems made him a better person.

"My time at the Cowboys taught me about professionalism. Not only in sport but in all other things we do in life," he said.

"I saw for myself the right mental approach needed to make it to the top in sports. When training time was scheduled for 3pm, our kickers and halfback were already there one hour in advance doing their extras.

"It teaches one to become better with time management and for you to manage your time yourself.

Now a farmer who lives off the land and sea at Votua, Kuricibi said it was sheer bad luck that his career was ended. Nevertheless, he is still a realist.

"This is what rugby can give you. It gives you money but it can also bring injuries."

These days, Kuricibi is keen on offering advice to young men from Votua with potential to make it in the world of sports.

"Look after yourself, eat the right food and always manage your time well if you want to be the best."
 

Joshpryor87

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Does anybody watch a lot of Warriors games...??? Thoughts on Jacob Lillyman...???

If I recall correctly, he priced himself out of the club many years back. I don't think we thought he was worth the coin he had asked for....
 

Joshpryor87

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Chris Grevsmuhl is on a double so far against the Gold Coast...
 

Joshpryor87

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I'm at the game Josh and was just commenting on the one that got away.
We have a strong back-row (which eases the pain), but I would still find room for Grevs in the form he is in. Certainly hard to watch... :-(
 

crayne07

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Tariq is having a huge impact at the Knights.............
Just not a positive one. By my count he has only been involved in 1 victory. I don't think his ability is the reason for this......... but maybe he's jinxed.
Cowboys luck has certainly changed this year.......
Just saying.
 

English Cowboy

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Scott Moore for Castleford, the one that got away.
Not really sure to make of Scott Moore, been having 2 good games and then 3 bad ones. When he's up for it, really good but had quite a few howlers too. On loan at Wakefield till the end of the season just now in a swap deal with Paul McShane, would have him back though. Trouble at Cas is we have been spoilt in the last few seasons with the rise of Daryl Clark who now is at Warrington.
 

Dream

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Leeson Ah Mau won Dragons player of the year.
 

EvolutionUber

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Not too many former cowboys to watch at this stage of the season.
 

Jordan

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Lui just scored 2 trys in a MOTM performance v St Helens.


 

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ozyscott

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Lui just scored 2 trys in a MOTM performance v St Helens.


Probably suits that level of competition....it's a step down from the nrl...

Sent from my SM-N920I using Tapatalk
 

Cowboy_4_Life

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Grevsmuhl to the Panthers
 
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