Gentle giant: Tiger Sharks honour Setariki ‘Bula’ Rakabula

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
Setariki ‘Bula’ Rakabula
Camera IconSetariki ‘Bula’ Rakabula Credit: Supplied

The Geraldton Tiger Sharks remember their late team-mate Setariki “Bula” Rakabula as a giant and a gentleman.

Always smiling and boasting invaluable playing experience, Bula made an indelible impact on the club.

His untimely death in a car accident two years ago was a crushing blow which many are still coming to terms with.

Since then, the Tiger Sharks have hosted an annual Bula Shield match against their “brother club”, Perth Bayswater.

Last weekend, the sides met again at Geraldton Rugby Park.

And though Bayswater won 29 to 17, Tiger Sharks captain Josh Wilson said the memory of Bula inspired the squad to push on to the last.

“We played pretty well; it’s hard to say what went wrong,” Wilson said.

“They got up on us early, and we started to come back in the second half, but time just ran out.”

Wilson said stand-outs included Matty Tyler and big, burly bruiser Mark Mataitoga.

“Mark made some really good, strong runs,” Wilson said.

“He’s a beast. I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Also known for his stature and talent was the beloved Bula.

“He represented Fiji in rugby league. He was a pretty big part of rugby,” Wilson said.

“He lived in Kalgoorlie for a while and played there, then moved to Geraldton, so he helped with a bit of coaching and played for us also.

“He was a bit like Mark: a really big guy, pretty hard to stop.

“He was always pretty happy and always positive. He just had a bit of a presence about him that drew everyone in.”

Now ranked eighth out of 18 teams in the Rugby WA Community Grade, the Tiger Sharks will take on fifth-ranked Kwinana on the metro side’s turf this weekend.

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