The PNGRFL through the Team Kumul and the PNG Hunters program are creating a pathway to develop our young sportsman from Papua New Guinea to play rugby league at the highest level and competitions and to improve and raise the standard of the players, officials and the game in general in PNG.
The Chairman of the PNGRFL Mr. Sandis Tsaka said, “The PNGRFL would like to make it clear that the Hunters Program is not a destination but a pathway for the launching of the cream of our local talent to get recognized at the International Level. Through the Hunters program, we are making available the best local PNG talent for NRL and International scouts so that we have more PNGians playing at high level international competitions.”
“PNGRFL and the Hunters programs are aimed at developing talents and footballers who can compete at the International Level. In fact one of the key indicators of the success of the PNGRFL and Hunters programs will be in the number of players that get opportunities to play International football through the program and pathway,” Mr Tsaka said.
“Players like Wellington, Mexico and now Lo and Tali are testament to the success of the programs we have put in place and the PNGRFL is proud of their achievements”.
Mr. Tsaka further said, “The PNGRFL would like to congratulate Gary Lo, Jason Tali, Mark Mexico and any others who may have been offered contracts to play overseas.
“The PNGRFL respects their decision to play overseas and trusts that they will be great ambassadors of the sport and the country in their endeavours and we wish them all the best”, he said.
“The PNGRFL and the Hunters programs have prepared for this and know that with the success of the programs would come the departure of our best talent and we are proud of this achievements as we have prepared for this scenario with the All Stars and Confederate programs to identify, nurture and promote the next cream of PNG talent”, said Mr. Tsaka.
The Chairman also said, “The PNGRFL, Team Kumul and the PNG Hunters programs have been very successful in only our first year, but for us to get serious recognizance for our talents and players will demand continual improvement, consistency, perseverance and more importantly patience in the program by all involved including players, officials, sponsors and fans and the results will come”.
“The PNGRFL and the Hunters have also initiated programs to proactively market our players both through our Juniors and Seniors programs, knowing that we have to compete with a wide array of rugby league talent playing all over the world”.
Mr. Tsaka further stated that, “My Board in the space of 10 months has made tremendous strides and progress in stabilizing the governance and administration of the sport in PNG, which is a crucial and important prerequisite for the PNGRFL to effectively undertake all its other important tasks”.
“From an organisation that was dysfunctional and run on an ad-hoc basis for 40 years, now we have the PNGRFL as an organisation with governance and management structures with clear institutional processes and procedures for the management and administration of the game in PNG. For the first time, we have a clear pathway, structures, development programs and a strategic vision to guide the growth of the sport in PNG”.
“At this juncture, I must reiterate that the concern of the PNGRFL is ONLY in the manner in which an Oversea’s team breached protocol when they did not show courtesy and respect when they come into PNG with the attitude to “poach” players whilst they were on contract”, said Chairman Tsaka.
“This is unacceptable and must be controlled especially with the commercialization of rugby league in PNG and throughout the World where teams will poach players for commercial reasons with little regard to player pathways and welfare and basically the growth of the sport in the domestic competitions”.
“This was disrespectful not only to the PNGRFL but to the country and its institutions and processes, and as such cannot be condoned for sake of the integrity of the game, its institutions and the protocols”, he said.
The PNGRFL has referred the matter to the RLIF with whom we are working to remedy the matter and ensure that such instances are avoided and proper protocols are observed and complied with.