'Backyard League' comes to Vunikodi

NRL Development Fiji, in conjunction with Fiji Sport Commission, visited the village of Vunikodi - the northern-most point of Vanua Levu Island to conduct a combined sport outreach program over five days.

The venture consisted of 16 hours travel, starting at 4.30am and arriving at the destination by 10.30pm, three hours by bus, four hours by boat, four hours by truck then another one hour by boat to Vunikodi village. The last hour turned into five as the boat needed to wait for high tide.

On arriving at the village the only source of navigation over shallow reef was by flashing torches onto land. The village had no table, chairs or knives and forks, no phone or internet access, no running water, no electricity, a generator for lights only, a bucket of water to flush the toilet, a small container of water to shower - the first to pour over yourself and soap up and a second to wash off the soap. Washing clothes consisted of jumping in the ocean and then hanging them on a line to dry.

A total of seven villages and 100 participants participated in rugby league, boxing, volleyball, cricket, netball and rugby union over the five days with a total of 40 hours of theory, practical and assessment.

Each morning a sport provided a one and a half hour practical to all participants. 100 people participated in the NRL Backyard League program.  

Rugby League was well received with 22 participants aged between 18 and 40 partaking in coach and referee theory and practical modules, and primary school programs. 

On the last day all coaches conducted the first ever Backyard League program to the local primary school.