Wes Naiqama

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Wes Naiqama
Wes Naiqama 2014 (cropped).jpg
Naiqama at the premiere of Hercules, June 2014
Personal information
Full name Waisele Ligani Naiqama
Nickname No Dramas, Bula, Coconut[1]
Born (1982-10-19) 19 October 1982 (age 31)
Sutherland, New South Wales, Australia
Height 182 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 96 kg (15 st 2 lb)
Playing information
Position Centre, Fullback, Wing
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2005–2007 St George Illawarra 38 16 48 0 160
2008–2012 Newcastle Knights 75 15 60 0 180
2013– Penrith Panthers 8 2 1 0 10
Total 121 33 109 0 350
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2006–2013 Fiji 13 5 46 0 112
Source: RLP

Wes Naiqama (born 19 October 1982) is a Fijian professional rugby league footballer who plays for the Penrith Panthers of the National Rugby League and the Fiji national rugby league team.[2] He primarily plays centre and fullback but can fill in at wing, second-row and five-eighth. He is the older brother of Newcastle Knights player and fellow Fiji international, Kevin Naiqama.[3]

Playing career[edit]

Born in Sutherland, New South Wales, Naiqama played his junior football for the Arncliffe Scots and attended James Cook Boys Technology High School before being signed by the St. George Illawarra Dragons. In 2002, he scored 38 points, 5 tries and 9 goals in a Jersey Flegg game for the Dragons against the North Sydney Bears. In Round 4 of the 2005 NRL season he made his NRL debut for the Dragons against the Canberra Raiders.[4]

In 2007, Naiqama signed a contract with the Newcastle Knights starting in 2008, to be a part of the new Brian Smith era at the Knights. In 2008, Naiqama regularly started in the centres or at fullback. He was also chosen as the replacement goal kicker after Kurt Gidley. He was frequently used as a bench utility player in 2009 and 2010 before gaining his spot back in the starting team in 2011, playing in career best form as a centre or fullback. In Round 16 of the 2011 season, Naiqama got the chance to captain the Newcastle Knights for the first time after captain Kurt Gidley and vice-captain Jarrod Mullen were both injured at the same time. He again was named captain in Round 17. In June 2011, after career best form, Naiqama re-signed with the Knights for 3-years after rejecting a contract with his former club, the St. George Illawarra Dragons.[5] In 2012, after injuries and form loss, Naiqama was dropped to NSW Cup after Round 9 by new Knights coach Wayne Bennett.

On 13 July 2012, Naiqama was released from the remaining two years of his contract with the Newcastle Knights and signed a 2-year contract with the Penrith Panthers starting in 2013.[6]

Representative career[edit]

Naiqama playing for Fiji in 2008

Naiqama made his Fiji debut in 2006. In 2008, Naiqama was named in the Fiji squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.[7]

On 3 November 2011, the annual RLIF Awards dinner was held at the Tower of London and Naiqama was named Fiji's Player of the Year.[8]

He was named vice-captain for Fiji's 2013 Rugby League World Cup campaign.[9]

Personal life[edit]

In December 2006, Naiqama was arrested but not charged over an alleged assault in Sydney's King Cross.[10]

On 28 February 2007, Naiqama was convicted by a Sydney court for driving a car while his license was disqualified. The court sentenced Naiqama to serve a maximum of eight months periodic detention, with a non-parole period of four months. This was the fourth time Naiqama had been convicted of such an offence.[11][12]

References[edit]

External links[edit]