Fiji can win it, says Potter
Fiji have come within one win of a Rugby League World Cup final in their past two campaigns and coach Michael Potter believes 2017 can be the year they not only make the decider, but take out the whole competition.
For that to happen it is likely Fiji would have to defeat either Australia or England on their way to silverware, something they have never been able to do.
Fiji have lost five times to the Kangaroos from five attempts, with their most recent meeting resulting in a 64-0 win to Australia in the 2013 World Cup semi-finals.
The Bati have been equally unsuccessful in their three clashes with England, however there is plenty of belief in this much improved Fijian side as the country continues to grow as a rugby league-playing nation.
Potter was adamant when asked of their chances, saying there was no reason why they could beat the best and become the champions of the world.
"We're like everyone else. We're here to win it. We haven't come here to make up the numbers. We've come here believing that we can do the job," Potter said
"Whether that will eventuate will come down to results, but we're here to do our best. We're hoping our best is going to be enough to win the competition."
The success of Fiji's tournament may come down to the form of polarising fullback Jarryd Hayne.
On his day Hayne can single-handedly carry his team to a winning position, but after a lacklustre 2017 NRL season there are plenty of question marks around whether he can find the explosive form that saw him win the Dally M Player of the Year award in both 2009 and 2014.
Potter has faith that it can be done, saying Hayne's influence had already started to have a positive effect on the Fijian squad.
"Jarryd adds that little bit of X-factor. He can win you games. His talk is so invaluable to our players and he makes us a better team. It's a bonus for us to have him," he said.
"I think he's enjoying the experience at the moment. He's been in camp and he's been fantastic. He'll get something out of it and so will the players he is working with."
Captain Kevin Naiqama is enjoying his time with Hayne, and he believes Hayne's presence will inspire his side to greatness.
"I'm not even focusing on the other teams. All I'm focusing on is what the coach puts in place and the structures we need to follow," Naiqama said.
"It's on us players to follow these structures and execute them. If we do then I believe we can go all the way."