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For every try or eye-catching fend Maika Sivo has delivered in 2019, a close-knit contingent of family has erupted in the small Fijian village of Momi.

The script for the NRL's latest barnstorming winger from the South Pacific island nation couldn't have gone any better for the Sivo family with their recent reunion providing a heart-warming moment for the rugby league faithful.

As part of their ongoing brand partnership, Victoria Bitter and National Rugby League joined forces to surprise Maika at training the day before the Eels played the Knights at Bankwest Stadium in round 21.

It was the first time Joeli had left his homeland - he boarded a plane bound for Sydney to see Maika play rugby league, a sport he only started playing four years ago.  

Sivo has had a year to remember after bursting onto the scene in the opening round of the NRL season to be ranked second on the leading try-scorers list with 16.

Joeli Sivo at home in Fiji.
Joeli Sivo at home in Fiji. ©NRL Photos

"My son Maika built our house for us," Joeli says, standing outside his house in Momi.

"He sends money every fortnight."

Maika explains the motive to support his family financially from afar, while he lives with his uncle Mamua in south-west Sydney.

"My dad, he's worked hard all his life," Sivo says.

"I just wanted to pay him back for all his sacrifices. He's still working hard. I think about him all the time. He and mum are proud of me. My dad watches every game I play. Him, mum and the whole family never miss the game [via satellite].

Joeli Sivo cheers on his son at Bankwest Stadium.
Joeli Sivo cheers on his son at Bankwest Stadium. ©NRL Photos

"The neighbours never complain about the noise because they're there too."

Sivo snr surprised Maika with a visit to the club's training base following the side's captain's run ahead of the Eels's 20-14 win over the Knights.

He scored a second-half try with Joeli just metres away from the moment.

"To see my son play in the flesh, it's a dream come true," Joeli said.

"All those people in the crowd calling his name – Sivo! Sivo! ... my heart was so big."

Sivo's journey to the NRL has been well publicised over the course of the 2019 season, from his travels to Gundagai and stints with western Sydney clubs Mounties and Penrith before finding a home on the left edge at Parramatta. 

"There's been a lot of change in my life, uncertainty and hardship," Sivo said.

"But the one constant has been my dad. He's my rock."


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