The Western Force will welcome Tongan pair Seneti Kilisimasi and Siutiti Ma’ake as part of the Australian government’s PacificAus Sports which provide scholarships to six female players from Pacific Island nations to join Australian Super W clubs for the 2024 season.
Selected from the 2023 Oceania Rugby Women’s Combine, hosted in Fiji earlier this year, six players will join the Super W clubs for season 2024 with Tongan cohort Kilisimasi and Ma’ake to join the Force.
Ma’ake said: “I am really grateful and would like to thank Oceania Rugby, Rugby Australia and PacificAus Sports for this wonderful opportunity.
"This is a huge achievement not only for me and my family, but also for women’s rugby in Tonga. I will do my ultimate best to make everyone proud, to pave the way with the hope to inspire the next generation of girls in my beautiful country.”
Kilisimasi and Ma’ake will link up with the Force Women’s program which will be led by Super W’s first full-time head coach Dylan Parsons in 2024, supported by assistant coaches Chris Heiberg and Dwayne Grace.
This support follows the Australian Government’s recent announcement that it will continue to fund the Fijiana Drua’s participation in the Super W competition, further strengthening women’s high-performance sport in the region.
Through PacificAus Sports, Rugby Australia and Oceania Rugby are also working with Pacific rugby organisations to increase opportunities for Pacific teams and players to participate in Australian and regional rugby competitions, and to provide professional development for coaches and officials.
The Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy MP said: “We are thrilled these talented players will have the opportunity to join Australian Super W clubs for the 2024 season and inspire women and girls across the Pacific to pursue their dreams.
“The Albanese Government is proud to be increasing the pathways for aspiring female athletes in the Pacific in the region. There’s so much potential for our shared love of sport to bring people across the Pacific closer together.”