Wes spreading the good word

By GREG WHITE

CHARISMATIC St George-Illawarra winger Wes Naiqama made a hit-and-run visit to Coffs Harbour yesterday to spread the rugby league gospel.

Under the direction of ARL Development North Coast manager Cindy Greenshields, the Dragons speedster was a guest of the students of St Augustine's, before making presentations to the grand finalists of the Inter-Schools challenge at Advocate Park.

"The schoolkids are always a lot of fun," Naiqama grinned.

"Once you hand out the prizes and have a quiz session they always have some funny questions to ask, not always about football.

"But it's always really enjoyable to come here meeting them."

Naiqama formerly represented Fiji in the World Sevens and has local knowledge through the participation of Fiji Bati in the Orara Valley Sevens tournament.

"Yes, I know a lot of the players and would love to play with the boys when they come to Coffs but being contracted it isn't possible," he said.

"But in years to come, I'd enjoy playing here."

He laughed at the confusion caused when the 'other Wes Naiqama' turned out for Sydney Bulls in January's tournament.

"We get mistaken a lot but I can assure you we're two different people."

He also boasts an admiration for former local and occasional wing rival, Greg Inglis.

"He's brilliant on the field and helps make Melbourne Storm the toughest team to play against," Naiqama said.

Off contract with Saints at the end of the year, Naiqama will continue his career in Newcastle after signing a three-year deal with the Knights.

"I went up last week to have lunch with Brian Smith and spend a day discussing the future," he said.

"After so long with the Dragons I was pretty nervous about what to expect but the Knights made me feel welcome and I think I'll fit in well there.

"Brian told me what he needed and asked for ideas, so I'm now very confident about what is ahead."



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