You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Ratu Jilivecevece in a trial for the Ipswich Jets. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

Ratu Jilivecevece can describe what the Ipswich Jets mean to him in one word: family.

The Kaiviti Silktails back is one of a number of Fijian players who have been given the opportunity to join the Hostplus Cup this year thanks to a partnership between the Jets and the NSWRL Ron Massey Cup side, the Silktails.

Alongside Jilivecevece, Timoci Bola, Manasa Kalou, Malakai Kovekalou, Mosese Qionimacawa and Apakuki Tavodi have all joined the Jets for the 2023 season, with Bola, Kovekalou and Qionimacawa all making their Cup debuts in Round 1 last week.

Jilivecevece missed out through suspension but will get his chance this week, when the Jets play host to the Sunshine Coast Falcons on Saturday.

This moment is what Jilivecevece has been working towards all pre-season, but the 25-year-old does not focus on the individual accolades all that much.

Instead, he’s a team player and is all about the Jets first and foremost.

“Some people (in Fiji) used to tell us you have to put the club first and represent it first before thinking of getting a contract or anything,” Jilivecevece said.

“You have to be loyal to your club first. So my goals, I just want to think about the club and then the opportunities will come by itself. You just have to do the work.”

Ratu Jilivecevece in a trial for the Ipswich Jets. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL
Ratu Jilivecevece in a trial for the Ipswich Jets. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

Since arriving in pre-season at the back end of last year, Jilivecevece and his Silktails teammates have quickly warmed to Ipswich – the club, the squad, the coaching staff and the wider community.

Jilivecevece – who has been named to start in his preferred position at centre this weekend – said coming to the Jets with his “brothers” helped a lot as they all worked to settle in.

They were first based on the Gold Coast before finding a house together in Ipswich.

And Jilivecevece’s bonds have now extended beyond that of his Silktails teammates.

“It means family to me,” he said of the Ipswich Jets.

“It is a family-oriented club. We’ve got to know each other and Ipswich has helped with many things.

“Moving from Sydney to Ipswich, it’s really tough but it’s been good for us. Ipswich is great. It’s our hometown now. We have to play hard to make them proud.

“My goals this year… I haven’t won anything like a premiership or anything like that.

“Maybe I would be fortunate if we could win it together with the Jets but time will tell. I’d just like to see how far rugby league is going to take me.”

Jilivecevece, born in Suva, was predominantly a rugby union player before he made the switch to rugby league in 2019 after missing out on playing for the police rugby union team back in Fiji.

From here, he was quickly signed by the Silktails but the next two years of his career in the NSW were heavily disrupted by COVID-19.

But last year he was able to get far more football under his belt and now gets his opportunity in the Hostplus Cup.

Jilivecevece admits it’s been a whirlwind past few years since he made the switch to rugby league and he’s gone further than he ever could have dreamed of.

And, while there’s plenty he’d still love to achieve, he will soak up every moment of his Cup debut on Saturday, proudly wearing the green and white of Ipswich.

“It is just a rollercoaster ride,” Jilivecevece said of his career.

“I didn’t dream of coming here (to Australia). I thought I was going to play in Fiji and be in Fiji.

“Every kid that grows up in Fiji dreams of achieving greater things. Putting on that jersey, we think of it as making it in the NRL.

“Even if we don’t get in an NRL team, if you don a jersey over here, that’s NRL for us.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Platinum Partners

View All Partners