By JACK AMI
PAPUA New Guinea rugby league has lost a man whose name was synonymous with the code.
Lloyd Robson, 75, died peacefully on Sept 28 at Tweed Heads, New South Wales.
The country’s premier rugby league venue at Boroko in Port Moresby was named after Lloyd Robson and was considered an iconic playing field that hosted the country’s first international fixture in 1975, where the Paul Chue-captained Kumuls were beaten 40-12 by England.
Since that time the venue has seen many memorable moments, including PNG’s historic 24-22 win over New Zealand on Aug 17, 1986, and before that several victories over the visiting French.
It was also the scene of the PNG Prime Minister’s 13 side’s best result against Australia on Sept 23, 2007, when a Stanley Hondina penalty goal from halfway at fulltime earned the home side a famous 24-24 draw.
Port Moresby Rugby league chairman Dr James Naipao, pictured, in a media release described the death as the passing of a legend and pioneer of the city’s rugby league history as well as a contributor to the national game as a whole.
“The Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby carries his name and will be forever remembered as the home of rugby league in PNG even though it has had a name change as well as major redevelopment in recent years,” Naipao said.
Naipao said the venue, which had been renamed the National Football Stadium after getting a complete makeover last year under a partnership between the State and petroleum firm Oil Search, still retained that connection with its past and those who contributed immensely to the city league, with the grand stand named the Lloyd Robson Stand.
Robson played reserve grade for the Hawks in the late 1960s and coached as well as administered the game while also becoming the initial caretaker and curator of the venue.
“Many people, not just rugby league fans who hear the name ‘Lloyd Robson’ will straightaway think of the venue and what it stands for and what it means to our sport.”
Papuan rugby league great Sir Dadi Toka was saddened to hear of Robson’s passing.
Sir Dadi recalled that the late Robson worked as an engineer for the Commonwealth Works before moving to the then Port Moresby City Council (now National Capital District Commission) in pre-independence times.
He said Lloyd was an active member of PRL and was responsible for the upkeep of the turf at the oval and was a household name in Port Moresby.
Robson, who was a life member of the PRL, was a native of Murwillumbah but had also spent time at Banora Point.
He passed away at Tweed Hospital and is survived by children Paul, Scott, Joanne and Brett, and grand children Siala, Kelera, Marlie, Lennox and Laveli and sisters Heather and Lavinia.
The funeral service is on held at Melaleuca Station Memorial Gardens, Chinderah on Thursday, at 11.30am (NSW time) 10.30am (Qld time).
Naipao, on of Port Moresby Rugby Football League major sponsor SP Brewery, league patron Sports vice-minister Labi Amaiu MP, the board, delegates and supporters of the city competition, passed on their collective condolences to the family and friends of late Robson in Australia and Papua New Guinea.
By JACK AMI