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Rick Stone doesn’t get a cent to coach Fiji, but he couldn’t care less.

You see, Stone has a deep passion for the island nation dating back to 2011 when he first took on the head coach role.

During that time, the Knights assistant coach has helped Fiji become a consistent force on the world stage led by a potent blend of youth and experience.

This improvement was shown at the recent World Cup in England when the Fijians finished semi-fianlists for the second consecutive Cup campaign (the last in Australia in 2008).  

It was a result that justified all the hard work Stone has poured into the team in the past three seasons.  

It's also why he is more than happy to juggle his coaching commitments with Fiji against Samoa on Saturday night and Newcastle versus Wentworthville in the NSW Cup at Ringrose Park on Sunday.

"It (Fiji) does mean a lot," Stone says.

"We’ve put a bit of time and effort into it. I'll been in camp with Fiji in Penrith, but I'll have to sneak back to Newcastle on Thursday to do a bit with the NSW Cup team and then head back again, but it's worth it.

"It takes a little bit away from what you do, but it’s enjoyable and it’s definitely satisfying when you get to see some improvement in blokes like Kane Evans who has made his NRL debut this year.

"I suppose that's why it’s a little bit disappointing to hear some of the critics bag the game.

"Because for the emerging nations, it is really important and it means a lot to the boys and the country.

"The development of the game in Fiji is really important and results of this sort of a game make a difference in Fiji."

On the back of Fiji's impressive effort at the World Cup, Stone says the vibe in camp this week has been extremely positive.   

"We are a pretty close crew and it’s great to get back together again," he says.

"Admittedly we are missing a fair few players like Aku (knee), but there is still a good core group of players that went to the World Cup for us.

"We also have a couple of new ones who have fitted into the camp pretty well.

"So it feels like it’s pretty much deja vu you know.

"We trained the first time and we were a little bit rusty to start with, but it clicked into gear pretty well and then everyone was back in the groove."

On top of coach Stone, the Knights also have prop Korbin Sims representing the red and blue in the Fijian side. 

Sims has been outstanding in the opening rounds of the season and Stone says he always steps up and takes on a leadership role when he plays for the Bati.

"Korbin is a big part of this team," he says.

"He is a character and a really important member and we'll be looking for him to again play well."  

You can catch Fiji's clash against Samoa at Penrith's Sportingbet Stadium this Saturday from 7.30pm.

The winner of the match will earn a place in the end-of-season Four Nations tournament to played in Australia and New Zealand this October and November.