Kevin Naiqama knows how to win big games. The centre is a three-time Super League Champion winning three in a row with St Helens as he was also awarded the Harry Sunderland Award as Man of the Match in the 2021 Grand Final in what appeared to be his final Super League game as he returned to the NRL.
However, he will be back in Super League next year as one of the exciting signings at Huddersfield Giants but before that he has the small matter of a World Cup quarter-final on his hands as his Fiji side take on New Zealand hoping to stun the Kiwis as they did in this stage of the competition back in 2017.
However, he thinks his team will have to be much better than they were against Scotland this week with the centre left frustrated by his side’s efforts.
He said on the Super League website: “It’s really disappointing to be honest.
“It was just an ill-disciplined performance from us and we were really lucky to come away with the win. Scotland played a really good footy game and kept it simple. It’s sort of out of character for us but it’s something we can fix and be better for.”
He then explained what his team will need to do against the Kiwis this week: “It’s a big game against New Zealand next week. There’s a lot of learnings we can take out of that [the Scotland game], we are going to have to be a lot better than that because New Zealand are a quality team. If we want to compete with them, we’re going to have to put in a very disciplined performance and be at our very best.”
His attitude towards his team’s results demonstrate the winning mentality Ian Watson is bringing into the John Smith’s Stadium and underline exactly what he is trying to build.