Save 20% off! Join our newsletter and get 20% off right away!

Filipino New Zealanders in Cabramatta RL International 9s

BY ERICK ELEFANTE  – THE COUNTIES MANUKA ETHNIC ALL STARS from New Zealand , a combined ethnic league players buttressed by a number of Filipino-New Zealand nationals participated in the Cabaramatta International Rugby League in the Western Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, NSW last 30th January.

There was tough competition to make this inaugural CMEAS team and the majority of the squad was made up of the Filipino players from the Eagles team.   Three years ago South Auckland league administrators were exploring options to grow Rugby League in the region, and came to realise that the Asian and Indian communities were an untapped asset.

The CMEAS team consisted of CMarique Mafeking Brown, – Filipino/Maori, Bill Chu – Chinese, Jake Cruz – Filipino.,Odyssey Laderas – Filipino, Jericho Nicodemus- Filipino, John Nicodemus  – Filipino, Josh Nicodemus – Filipino, Gerald Tulud, – Filipino.

Other team members Jasdeep Dhaliwal – Indian, Faraz Khan – Fijian-Indian/Samoan, Joseph Kumar, – Indian Tongan, Amoi Singh, – Indian/Samoan, (Wasps), Dipak Kumar – Indian, Hamish Lal, – Indian, (GuardiaNZ) , David Dyer – Jamaican/Samoan

Counties Manukau Rugby League (CMRL) General Manager Kasey King was given the role to break into these communities.

King soon discovered that even though there was strong popular community support amongst the New Zealand Asian community for Rugby League and the New Zealand Warriors there was a reluctance in these communities to play “The Greatest Game of All”.

The original perception was that the reluctance came from religious and cultural differences between the new emerging Asian communities and New Zealand mainstream culture.

It was soon discovered by King that the religious and cultural issues was not the problem, it was actually perceived barriers of physicality. With the communities not wanting to take on “the big Maori and Pacifica boys because of their natural athleticism.”

So King conceived a way of introducing Rugby League into these communities safely by having them play amongst themselves so the concept of the Ethnic League was born under the umbrella of the CMRL and in 2013 formed two teams mostly of Indian heritage players the Piranhas and Mustangs.

King heard about a Filipino heritage Rugby League player, Carmilo Manuyag playing club footy and approached him about the concept of a competition design specifically for Indian and Asian participants. An invitation was extended to enter a Filipino team into the 2014 inaugural Ethnic Rugby League tournament, which saw the introduction of a third team, the Eagles.