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Sivo family set for mad dash for emotional three-year reunion

Maika Sivo hasn’t seen his parents in more than three years but that’s all about to change when the Fijian family reunite for the NRL Telstra Premiership grand final on Sunday.

Sivo’s parents Joeli and Mere will make the mad dash from their small village in Momi, a 40-minute drive from Nadi in Fiji, to watch their son play in person for the first time since 2019.  

It will be an emotional occasion for the family, who have mourned the loss of Sivo’s younger brother Luva for the past 12 months after he tragically passed away aged 13.

Eels teammates Clint Gutherson, Mitchell Moses, Reed Mahoney and Nathan Brown met Joeli, Mere and Luva after visiting the village during the Prime Minister’s XIII visit in 2019.

“Dad called me [last week] and said he and Mum will come watch the grand final if we made it,” Sivo told

“He was confident he will see me when he called so now it’s about trying to get them over here as soon as possible. I’m so happy they want to come over and watch. I’ll get the club to help organise it.

Eels players Nathan Brown, Clint Gutherson, Mitchell Moses and Reed Mahoney with Sivo's mother Mere and late brother Luva at their family village in 2019.
Eels players Nathan Brown, Clint Gutherson, Mitchell Moses and Reed Mahoney with Sivo's mother Mere and late brother Luva at their family village in 2019. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

“They don’t like to leave the village too much, especially mum. I haven’t been able to go home because of the border closures and my injury last year.

“My cousins might want to come too but it will good to have mum and dad at least.”

Sivo’s life has changed remarkably in the three years since Joeli last surprised his son in August of that year when he first visited Australia.

The 28-year-old has gone on to become one of the most powerful wingers in the game with 67 tries in 82 games and made it a tradition for Eels fans to chant his name at CommBank Stadium.

He’s represented his native Fiji on three occasions while going through the rollercoaster of Luva's passing and ACL injury last season.

In March, he and partner Korina welcomed their first child, son Isaiah, into the world – creating another first for Sivo’s family this week to meet their grandson.

“When dad came in 2019 I couldn’t believe it, he surprised me out of nowhere, and then when Gutho and the boys went to visit my village it meant a lot to me," Sivo said.

"Having them at the grand final on Sunday will be amazing. All the boys are pumped, we’re excited. Many people said we couldn’t match the weather [in Townsville] but it felt like home to me."

Sivo will wait and see how usual centre partner Tom Opacic pulls up from a potential return from a hamstring injury ahead of Sunday's decider against his former club but has full faith in Bailey Simonsson to repeat his preliminary final efforts.

The Eels left edge were dominant against the Cowboys with Shaun Lane overcoming a poke in the eye early to help set up Sivo for a vital try.

"Bailey was good to play alongside, we were talking all night with him and on our edge and made good decisions in defence throughout the game," Sivo said.

"I’m not sure where Tommy is at but he will be close to playing."

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour 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.

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