The National, Thursday June 20th, 2013
AFLPNG’s Under-14 Coca-Cola Binatangs leave today for the Gold Coast to play in the 2013 Queensland State Championships.
Young boys from the Highlands (Goroka and Mt Hagen), Islands (Kimbe, Hoskins and Kavieng), Northern (Lae, Kainantu) and Port Moresby were selected at the national championships held in November last year at Lae’s Igam Barracks.
Squads have been preparing in each of the regions since February for the trip.
They are high hopes of a strong performance, with assistant coach Mesea Dorogori declaring the boys as equal to any side he had travelled with.
“Our preparation this year commenced early and our selection process was strong,” he said.
“We have won this carnival before and believe we are a good chance of following the success of the U16 Binatangs who won the South Pacific Cup in Townsville in April.
“Our boys come from six centres so getting the team together has been difficult.
“We will have a joint training session on Thursday before getting on the plane, and then warm up against some club teams before taking on U14 representative squads from around the state of Queensland,” Dorogori said.
“The Australian teams have an advantage in that they live close together and have been able to train and play as a group.
“We will compensate for that with some practice matches and the boys will spend 10 days in a camp and education environment.”
The Meli name continues in AFLPNG history with the son of Mosquito legend Peter Meli, being selected to travel.
Peter Meli Junior comes from Lae, and his brother David Meli was on an international scholarship to the Essendon Football Club in Melbourne.
AFLPNG general manager, Murray Bird said: “This trip represents the first step in the talented player pathway for PNG youth.
“It will be a fantastic learning and life experience for the boys. Many have not been on an air plane before.
“They will play in a good football competition, experience the Gold Coast, engage in player education sessions, and train and generally have the time of their lives.
“Who knows? One or two might be noticed by an AFL club and start a career similar to Mt Hagen’s Gideon Simon who is contracted to the Richmond Football Club in Melbourne.
“It all begins here, and we hope all the boys play well and represent their country with pride.”
The team will be coached by AFL South Pacific development officer, Ben Drew, who will be assisted by Dorogori.
The team manager is AFLPNG volunteer, Bill Mar.
The 2013 Binatangs squad: Valentine Janguan, Sylvester Wesley, Peter Meli Junior, George Vincent, Edward Posi, George Metu, Saburo Gerard, Coburn Gamuna, Clifton Puri, Nathanial Noke, Iama Rawali, Ezra Fungke, Thomas Wakon, Richard Walu, Ilam Michael, Jemasol Paira, Justin Murawa, Paniel Penias, Samuel Kenjau, Pano Ikivari, Stanley Giau, Mazi Tipeo, Geoffrey Kafang, Shadrick Iwi, Joseph Mondo, Elton Palai, Kepas Matrus.