The Parramatta Eels have signed Fijian high-flyer Maika Sivo on a two-year deal from the 2019 season.
The winger has impressed in the Penrith Panthers’ lower grades over the past few seasons, but now gets his chance for the Eels with the goal of playing first-grade football.
“I was just looking for an opportunity to play on the big stage. That’s why I’m moving to Parramatta, opportunity,” Sivo told the Daily Telegraph.
“It was hard telling my teammates that I’m going to another club but opportunities only come along once.”
Sivo came through the local rugby union ranks in Fiji as a junior and represented the country in Under 20s. He came to Australia in 2015 with Group 9 club Gundagai Tigers.
After a dominant season for the bush where he topped the team’s tryscoring list, he moved to Sydney where he went on to make his NSW Cup debut for the Panthers in 2017.
And last year was where he really put himself on the map, playing in Penrith’s grand final and State Championship triumphs.
“Sometimes I sit back and I look back at where I started, it’s a crazy journey,” Sivo said.
“I leave home to play on the big stage. Here is the opportunity to show them, to play on the big stage, and it was always a goal for me.”
Sivo’s has drawn comparisons to former Fijian Eels recruit Semi Radradra, a story that he says has paved the pathway for success.
“I don’t know what to say. He’s a good player and he’s set a good path for us to follow,” Sivo said.
“I feel inspired. He’s put a good standard for us. Hopefully I can do that too next year.”
Sivo’s manager Cameron Phelps admits his client received several other offers from rival clubs, but Radradra’s history at Parramatta proved a major selling point.
“Other clubs were interested, but Parramatta’s history with Semi was a big selling point,” Phelps told the Daily Telegraph.
“Maika has a big future in rugby league and Parramatta is a great fit for him moving forward.”