Fiji is more than just a destination for the Vodafone Fijian Bati players, it is a state of mind.
Under new coach Brandon Costin, the Fiji National Rugby League is creating an app to give members of the Bati squad a daily dose of Fiji culture when they are in Australia with their NRL clubs.
Costin, who is based in Fiji, credits the success of the Bati in Tests he has overseen this year against Lebanon, Samoa, and Papua New Guinea to the culture and environment in camp and wants the players to experience that each day, via the app.
“It’s an amazing experience when you are around Fijians,” Costin told NRL.com.
“Every time I go to training we sing a hymn, we say a prayer every day, so I think what happens with the NRL boys when they come into camp is that they get a real blast of Fiji heritage.
“It takes them back and they love it, but when they come out of camp they are back into the normal everyday grind.
“Because I experience Fiji every day we are really trying to make sure everyone in our squad has a connection to Fiji every single day going forward.
“We are just trying to build a really tight culture that comes from the first and most important thing in Fiji, God, and then the Bati.”
The team chaplain will use the app to keep the players connected with their religion and Costin will provide playing-related information.
“One of the goals here is to make sure we are not just going event to event to event,” Costin said.
“I have got a contract that is going to see me past the 2021 World Cup so that is our focus. We are not event orientated, we are World Cup orientated.
“When you start an NRL season you obviously want to win the grand final from day one but you have to practice every day at training and every game, everything that is required to be a grand final winner.
“We are trying to do the same thing.”
Costin’s philosophy has been successful, with Bati’s stunning wins over Samoa and Papua New Guinea.