Papua New Guinea Looks To Queensland National Rugby League Teams
The Papua New Guinea government "hasn't given up" on eventually having its own team in the National Rugby League, according to Eoin Blackwell of the AAP. Rugby league is "hugely popular" in PNG and its 7 million residents, and it is the only country that has the NRL as its national sport. Coordination between teams, the game's governing body and the government "has stymied growth opportunities" in the past. However, PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko is now hopeful a meeting of the game's stakeholders and their int'l counterparts in late November "will act as a catalyst for change and growth in the sport" in his country. Tkatchenko said, "The game is stuck, that's what we're facing right now." He added, "If we can't get in on the NRL by setting up our own team -- look at the logistics, it's going to cost an absolute fortune -- but if we can get in [an Australian] team that's already set up with all the facilities there with a team that's on the way up, then why try and re-create the wheel that's already there?" Newly appointed PNG bid Chair Powes Parkop is looking to buy into either the Brisbane Broncos or North Queensland Cowboys. Parkop believes that there is "a great opportunity to collaborate with Australian clubs given the untapped talent in the country" (AAP, 9/26).