Representatives of the Queensland Ruby League visited PNG over the weekend on a scouting mission for a possible entry of a PNG team into the 2014 Intrust Super Cup competition.
The trio consisted of Rick Green (Queensland Rugby League Board Member), Jamie Oâ€™Connor (General Manager Competitions) and Brock Schaefer (CEO â€“ Northern Pride).
The visit, organised by the PNG Rugby League Foundation was the next step in ongoing discussions held with the ARLC and Queensland Rugby League representatives putting forward the case for admission into the state-wide competition.
PNG RL Foundation CEO Brad Tassell said the visit was a vital one for PNGâ€™s chances;
â€œIt has been a long ongoing process and we have had continual close contact with the Queensland Rugby League and more recently the ARLC about inclusion into the 2014competition. We have a very strong case for admission, however the visit was to address concerns related to expansion of the competition and entry of a national team for PNG into it. The visit has enabled them to see first hand the passion of the people and the commitment from the corporate sector and Government in ensuring entry would be a complete success. We believe both the QRL and PNG will benefit from entry into the Intrust Super Cup. For us itâ€™s about exposing PNG players to a higher level of competition week in week out and having a platform for our players to the NRL competition. With the strong junior program already in place an Intrust Super Cup team is the next logical step in further developing Rugby League in PNG and providing a pathway for the youth of the nation. We are 100% committed to the program and appreciate the visit from the QRL.â€
The ARLC are currently undergoing a national review of Rugby League in Australia including the NSW and QLD Competitions. In a positive meeting with ARLC representatives Jim Doyle and Andrew Hill about expansion and inclusion of a PNG team in the Intrust Super Cup, Tassell outlined the structure and positives PNG could bring to the competition. Completion of the review is expected by the end of May with recommendations presented to the ARLC and Queensland Rugby League for their consideration throughout June.
Queensland Rugby League Board Member Rick Green said the visit was a positive one for PNGâ€™s chances;
â€œThe visit demonstrates we are serious about considering entry of a PNG team into the Intrust Super Cup. There are a lot of positives to be gained, but as most of the board and clubs have never been to PNG we had to see first hand what Rugby League means to the country and allay in our minds any concerns we had. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit and the professionalism shown by the Foundation. We were able to talk to sponsors, the Minister for Sport Justin Tkatchenko, Chairman of the Foundation Governor Powes Parkop and the PNGRFL board and were impressed by what is happening in rugby league in PNG and that certainly is a big plus for PNGâ€™s chances. We all really enjoyed the match between the Isapeas and Mioks yesterday and everyone has made us feel very welcome and we feel privileged to have been provided the opportunity to come to PNG. We now have a very clear indication in our minds about PNG and the future of Rugby League in PNG and will be able to relay that to the full QRL board and club CEOS. The visit and the report on the review of the 2nd tier competition will give us a clearer picture on our two (2) questions â€“ expansion and where we should expand to for the benefit of and to strengthen what we know is a fantastic competition.â€