FIJI Rugby League has thrown its support behind Papua New Guinea’s bid to enter a team in the tough NRL competition in Australia.
Fiji Rugby League patron Rajesh Singh revealed this after his discussions with PNGNRL Bid Team general manager Bev Broughton in Port Moresby yesterday.
Singh said Fiji prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimara had conveyed his government’s full support for PNG’s bid through the Fiji Rugby League.
Fiji is the first Pacific Islands country to announce its support for PNG’s NRL bid.
Singh welcomed remarks by the chairman of the PNGNRL Bid Team and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister, Philemon Embel, that potential players from Pacific Islands countries would also be considered in the composition of the PNG NRL team if the bid was successful.
Singh said the offer would motivate players from Fiji and other Pacific Islands nations to aspire to make the inaugural PNG team, which would truly be representative of the Pacific Islands.
Indeed, the feeling within the camps of teams presently competing in the SP Brewery Cup is that a franchise from the region would be a welcome change and an added boost of colour and Pacific flavour to the world league scene, which for so long has been dominated
by Australia, New Zealand and England.PNGNRL Bid Team general manager Bev Broughton commended Fiji Rugby League for getting on the bandwagon to support PNG’s bid to enter a team in the NRL competition.
She said she was pleasantly impressed with Fiji’s support as they were the first Pacific neighbours to step forward and back the PNG bid.
She said the bid team had feelers out for potential players from the SP Brewery Pacific Cup tournament presently on in Port Moresby to be recruited into the PNG team for possible inclusion in the NRL competition within the next five years.
She said recruiting PNG and other potential Pacific Islanders into the team would be the PNGNRL Bid Team’s main focus as they were not really interested in players playing in the NRL competition in Australia.
Mrs Broughton also conveyed Australian NRL chief executive officer David Gallop’s optimism that “it’s not the case of if but when,” regarding the time frame for PNG’s plans and process of entering the NRL.
She said the committee was ready and prepared to see the red, black and gold colours entering the world’s toughest rugby league competition by 2013.