By HUXLEY LOVAI
DUAL Australian international Wendell Sailor has praised the exploits of the PNG Hunters in their premiership winning campaign in the 2017 Intrust Super Cup season.
Speaking to the media during a visit to Port Moresby last week, Sailor, who represented Australia in rugby league and rugby union, said that he had been impressed by the positive developments made by PNG rugby league over the last five years.
The new level of professionalism brought to the PNG game by the Hunters has had a positive effect on the performances of the national team according to Sailor, who won premierships with the Brisbane Broncos as well as State of Origin titles for Queensland.
He said the proof was plain to see with the Kumuls reaping the rewards of an improved coaching and administration of the game.
“Papua New Guineans love their sport, and it’s at the grassroots level that you have to get things right. And I think that PNG sportsmen and women are starting to understand professionalism,” Sailor said.
“I’ve seen the PNG Hunters and their set up, with the team living together. I know it’s hard on their families. But the results speak for themselves with the Hunters winning the Q-Cup, and that’s great for rugby league.”
The 43-year-old, who has played against the Kumuls, spoke of the changes in the approach taken by the Hunters since joining the Q-Cup in 2014.
“The Hunters are tough and they never give in. But what they need to do is play a bit smarter.
“You can’t always run through people, but also run lines and hit the spaces.
“That’s why the Hunters won this year, because they started to play smarter week in and week out. A lot of players tell me that when you play PNG Hunters who know you’ve played in a game.
“I really respect and admire what PNG has done with rugby league over the past few years. PNG players are finally getting the exposure that they deserve.”
Sailor urged young sports men and women in the country to “go the extra mile” if they wanted to compete at the highest level in their respective sports.
“It’s all very well to come to training every week, but what you do when no one is looking, plays a big part.
“Whether it’s training on your off days or during the off season. It’s doing the extras that will determine your success in sports and give you that competitive edge.”
By HUXLEY LOVAI