PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says they are expressing interest to host National Rugby League games in Papua New Guinea due to large NRL following here.
“The reports we are getting is that many teams in the Queensland Cup competition want to play in different cities in PNG and this is the best way to promote sports in our country,” he said.
“So let’s build on confidence on last Sunday’s game in Lae between the PNG Hunters and Norths Devils,” O’Neill, who is also Sports Minister, said.
“In fact, we are talking to NRL teams to have one of their games played in Port Moresby, or Lae, so that our people can be exposed to high standard of football and discipline and also to encourage young people to make a career in sports.”
Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu chimed in saying he wanted two stadiums each for rugby and soccer in Lae before the end of this government’s term.
NRL teams have already come up to play the SP Hunters in pre-season fixtures. The Penrith Panthers came up in 2016 and Brisbane Broncos took on Michael Marum’s side in February this year.
Each time the National Football Stadium was filled to capacity with 15,000 fans in to watch the NRL sides take on the Hunters.
“Rugby League is building more interest in PNG and even the NRL teams want to come and play their games here. We are talking to the NRL to have one of their games in PNG so that our the fans and young people can experience it and it could encourage them to make a living from playing sports because many sports men and women get good money from playing sports.
“I see no reason why PNG cannot fully participate in sport,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill also commended the Lae rugby league and its fans for being great hosts of last weekend’s Q-Cup clash. “I also commend the people in Lae for hosting the game in Lae and in terms of expanding sports facilities throughout the country we are staring to work with the officials and we are putting together programmes to roll out throughout the major cities particularly the provinces who want to host PNG Games.
“Lae, Goroka, Mt Hagen and Kokopo are priority places for us to build stadiums to hold large crowds and better facilities to host the visiting teams coming into the country.”
The representative fixtures to come on the PNGRFL calendar this year are the Prime Ministers’ 13 clash between PNG and Australia in October which be given full test status and take place after the NRL grand final meaning all of the NRL’s top talent will be available.
This match will be at the National Football Stadium.
The England Knights, who are a development side comprising UK Super League talent, will play the PNG Kumuls in a two-match series in Port Moresby and Lae.
Additionally, depending on where the Hunters finish on the Q-Cup ladder, they could be in line to host a Q-Cup finals match. Source: The National
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