The National – Monday, January 31, 2011
LIKE many other Papua New Guineans, I have followed the issue of the PNGRFL since I was a boy. In my view, the league has failed miserably to address many basic issues such as junior development, referees, infrastructure (facilities), violence and management & administration.
Back in the 1980s I played rugby league in Australia at primary school level. I came back here with a great love and with great dreams for the game.
When I came back I saw that rugby league was not played in schools and like every other interested young boy, I ended up playing rugby union in high school.
Factors such as on and off-field violence and lack of monitoring of age limits discouraged me from playing rugby league.
Just imagine how may other young men who could have made it big but didn’t due to those factors. Imagine playing in an under-17 competition where every time you take the ball up, you are punched
or bitten by players who are clearly overage.
We want to play a game where you don’t have to worry about being beaten up during or after the game. We cannot allow this mentality to rule at any level in the game.
I must admit that the league has improved a since then but one has to question why it hadn’t improved sooner and why isn’t it still improving. And we wonder why only a handful of our players have played in Australia’s top-level competition.
The failure of the league is evidenced in the current debacle at the top and flows right down to spectator/player violence and poor on-field performance.
PNG has been involved in rugby league for so long, one would have to think that by now we should be dealing with the game at the same level as England or even Australia and New Zealand.
The wantok system, nepotism and our “don’t care” attitude have been allowed to flourish and taken root in the management and administration of the game. I have observed on many occasions the management and administration of the game by thugs and characters who have no qualifications, no management skills or experience, no vision and no love for the development of the game.
Everyone wants to be control and money seems to be the driving factor.
For example, someone who truly loves the game would realize that the development of the game is of paramount importance and they would move in that direction instead of politicizing issues at every opportunity.
Sponsorship won’t help. No amount of funding from Australia will help either.
What we need is new blood; someone who has a genuine love for the game, to see it prosper and develop and finally get to the stage where it deserves to be; someone who will swallow their pride and resign or step down to allow the game to progress.
Kaikai bilong tingting