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Wiki hopes to follow in father’s footsteps

Saturday 10 December 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Rugby league, Sports

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Wiki hopes to follow in father’s footsteps
Mackenzie Wiki, pictured with her father, Ruben Wiki. Photo: Canberra Times. 22120935

Cook Islander Mackenzie Wiki has been signed up to the Canberra Raiders squad for the NRLW Premiership, and it’s been called a boon for Rugby League in the Cook Islands.

The daughter of New Zealand league legend Ruben Wiki, Mackenzie Wiki told the media she was proud to have the opportunity to follow in her dad’s footsteps. 

Ruben Wiki played for the Canberra Raiders from 1993 to 2004, and the New Zealand Warriors from 2005 to 2008.

"This is my first time going for something like this. This is my second year playing. I'm the same as all these other girls, never played pro league before and really excited to,” Mackenzie Wiki said.

“That's the goal, also to follow in my dad's footsteps as well," Mackenzie said, who is Cook Island, Māori and Samoan.

It’s been a busy year for the 20 year-old Mackenzie Wiki , who represented the Cook Islands at the Women’s Rugby League World Cup last month.

Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said Mackenzie’s signing was great news for the sport in the country.

“Australia set a very high standard at the World Cup, thrashing the Kiwi Ferns 54-4 in the finals and everyone else including the Cooks Islands in the round robin,” Carlson said.

“That is the level we should be aiming for, to stay in touch with Australia and New Zealand, and we can only achieve that by playing at that level of competition.”

Carlson said to see Mackenzie signed up for the Raiders is an excellent achievement for her and Cook Islands Rugby League.

“This is the highest level where we want our players to be playing as we prepare for the World Cup 2025,” he said.  

Carlson said the Cook Islands do have a number of its players already in the women’s NRL system and hopefully they will make the NRL in the next year or two.

“I heard a number of girls are already making the shift to Australia to pursue their dream in rugby league,” he said.

“It comes with a lot of commitment and dedication to make it to this level. At this level you are exposed the best coaching and resources so you have to cherish and be grateful for the opportunity. You miss training, you are gone, as there are another dozen players waiting in line and competing for your position.” 

“We hope to see more of our players follow the pathway Mackenzie has taken to play at the NRL.”