By BURI GABI
AIRLINES PNG has become the first company to take a bold step by sponsoring the Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Bid team’s goal of entering a team into the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) competition, announcing a K900,000 backing over three years.
The official announcement was made yesterday in Port Moresby by PNGNRL Bid team directors, Paul Broughton, NCD Governor Powes Parkop, bid manageress Bev Broughton and Airlines PNG general manager (commercial), Colin Whelan.
According to Whelan, the sponsorhip is earmarked for three years with K300,000 every year to cover travel costs for PNGNRL Bid officials both locally and internationally.
The travel cost sponsorship for the bid team will result in making it possible for the bid team to fly into the country top NRL coaches to conduct programmes for junior development.
Paul Broughton said they (bid team) would be looking at flying the members of the bid team and other selected stakeholders of the bid over to the Gold Coast to watch one of the Gold Coast Titans home matches live.
Governor Parkop commended Airlines PNG for the sponsorship and said that it would help PNG realise its dream of having a team in arguably the world’s best rugby league competition.
He said it would create opportunities for current players and juniors in both PNG and other Pacific Island countries. Governor Parkop stressed that the bid was looking good so far and with support from business houses it would further boost the PNGNRL Bid team’s aspirations.
PNGNRL Bid manageress, Bev Broughton, said other coporate house have also indicated their willingness to support the bid with official announcements to be made soon.
She added that they would also be announcing soon the youth ambassador for PNGNRL Bid after the resignation of former Melbourne Storms flying winger Marcus Bai who was the appointed ambassador last year.
Whelan said his airline was pleased to support the PNGNRL Bid team, as it had other worthwhile causes, because of the follwing rugby league had in the country.
According to members of the bid team there is still a long way to go in reaching the goal of obtaining a franchise license from the NRL but they were primarily focused on fully satisfying all requirements set by David Gallop and his NRL board.
Negotiations have already started for the building of a rugby league stadium in Port Moresby, with the NCD Governor Powes Parkop negotiating with the Motu Koitabu Council to convert Sir Hubert Murray Stadium into a stadium similar to Skilled Park on the Gold Coast.