THERE are end of season footy trips, and there are end of season footy trips.
The one Yenda’s Ray Mavroudis, Apisai and Samuela Loaloadravu are about to undertake is definitely the latter as the trio prepare to represent their homelands in a one-off rugby league international in Vanuatu.
However, there will be serious business to be done by both Greece and Vanuatu as they represent their homelands as a way of spreading the word of rugby league in the minnow nations.
“That’s the priority of the game, when we went to Greece back in 2006 the idea was to set-up league right there which they have done now, with a competition up and running,” Mavroudis said.
“I’ve been playing in the side since 2003, and most of our players have come from NSW and Queensland cup sides and there’s just myself and another guy from Cobar from in the country areas in the side making the trip.
“As far as Vanuatu is situated I’m not too sure, but they do have some NRL players in the side for the game, so they’ll be quite strong.”
The funny side of the Loaloadravu brothers facing off against their Yenda teammate Mavroudis has not been lost on the players, as they addressed the game at the club’s presentation night last weekend.
“It’s an honour to play for these sides because it’s not something anybody can just go and do,” Mavroudis said.
“To get picked in these sides, they should be pretty honoured as I am really.
“It will be my last game ever, but we’ve already had a bit of a laugh about it, and we had a couple of photos together and we’ll have a couple more when we get over there,”
Mavroudis admits it will be hard to hang the boots up forever after pulling on the jersey of his heritage one last time, but said he will not be lost to the game forever.
“I’ve been playing since I was 11 and I just turned 37, so I’ve had a pretty good innings but it’s a shame it has to come to an end because I just want to play forever,” he said.
“The people you meet and the mates you get out of it, I’ll always struggle with missing that part of it, but I’m sure I’ll get back across and watch a couple of games next season.”