The Australian Fijian Rugby League is proud to announce it new community initiative - The “Bars to Bati “program. “Bars to Bati” will tackle the issue of the high imprisonment rate amongst the Fijian community living here in Australia. The Australian Fijian Rugby League utilizing its high profile Rugby League players and its board members will drive this program using The AFRL Rugby League program and Boxing as its vehicle.
The AFRL has been in operation since 2003 and provides a direct pathway to the Fijian National Rugby League team – The Fiji Bati. Since the AFRL’s inception in 2003 players of Fijian descent living here in Australia have represented the Australian Fijians and from this organization have graduated to full national honors. As our organization has evolved over these years we have now expanded our rugby league program to u/16’s, u/18’s, u/20’s to compliment our senior open age team.
During this time there has been a dramatic rise of Fijian’s living in Australia that have found themselves on the wrong side of the law resulting in them spending time in prison or juvenile detention. The AFRL Rugby League program has long been a positive outlet for Fijian youth here in Australia, not only with it’s direct pathway to the Fiji Bati but also for it’s cultural awareness and mentoring programs passed on to all players who become part of the AFRL.
Since the AFRL has been operating no less than 10 players have gone on to receive full national honors that have spent time in prison or in juvenile detention. Many more of our current younger players are being mentored through the AFRL and becoming a part of our growing Rugby League program and educating them about opportunities that can come to them on and off the field through Rugby League.
On December 1 at Souths Juniors the AFRL in conjunction with it’s community partner South Sydney PCYC will officially launch its ‘Bars to Bati’ program with it’s inaugural annual charity fight night which will see AFRL League players and staff from NRL level right down through to it junior ranks take on fighters from PCYC, NSW Police Force and the Corrective Services.
AFRL Membership Ambassador and Australia’s number 1 Heavyweight Kali Meehan along with former Fijian u/21 Rugby rep and commonwealth games boxing representative Billy Fine will train the AFRL team with former Australian Champion boxer, renowned boxing trainer and Prison Warden Dino Billinghurst to take control of the PCYC/Law Enforcement team.
During this time high profile Australian Fijian League players and AFRL board members will visit juvenile detention to talk to Fijian youth and other detainees about the opportunities that are out there for them when they return to society.
In these visits we will be spreading our ‘Bars to Bati’ message and encouraging them all to “STAY ON TRACK TO BE THE BEST THAT YOU CAN BE”.