The National – Tuesday, February 8, 2011
By KEVIN TEME
FORMER PNG Kumul coach Adrian Lam has named his junior rugby league scholarship programme the Aquila Emil scholarship in honour of a fallen hero.
The sudden and tragic death of PNG league legend Emil last week was a shock to many Kumul fans and former teammates in the country and Australia.
Lam said from Sydney, Australia, he was deeply saddened and shocked that someone of Emil’s calibre, especially in terms of rugby league development, would no longer be building the sport.
“I am truly upset, shocked and disappointed.
“I can’t believe it, and I won’t forget him even when I’m out and about in the city or at work or training for that matter.
“I still can’t get my mind off what had happened,” Lam said when commenting on Emil’s shooting death last week.
“I’m devastated because Aquila has done a lot for rugby league and recently in junior development and the administration work he was been involved in.
“He would have been an inspiration to many young boys,” the St George Illawara assistant coach said.
He said Emil was a popular figure in the 1990s and he was one of the first home-bred players who went down to Australia to play for the North Queensland Cowboys (1995).
“I had the honour of playing alongside him and he was a talent and will truly be missed by us all,” Lam said.
He said in memory of him, he had dedicated the Adrian Lam scholarship scheme to one PNG’s finest league stars.
The scholarship will now be called the Aquila Emil scholarship through the Adrian Lam Foundation.
Varage Wari Jr from Central is the first recipient of the inaugural Aquila Emil scholarship (awarded last month) where he will study and play at Illawara High School in Australia with all costs met by the Lam Foundation. “Varage is still working on his school visa and should be in Australia within the next couple of weeks,” Lam said.
Lam said Wari was identified by himself while he was here in the country on the Sports Minister’s invitation to help in the All Schools rugby league programme.
Varage is now an automatic squad member of the St George Illawara U16s and he will also be part of the Illawara High School first XIII where he will do grades 10-12.
Meanwhile, Lam extended his condolences to Emil’s immediate family and relatives and in this time of sorrow.
“My love and best wishes to late Aquila’s family.
“I am greatly saddened at the same time and I feel for his family,” Lam said.
Lam said the New Ireland native would always be remembered in his heart as a true close friend.