League needs more than just support

Letters, Normal

The National, Thursday October 10th, 2013

 I SUPPORT Inaka Laro’s letter regarding the recent PM’s XIII performance in Kokopo on Sept 29..

It is one thing to want a national representative side that can compete against the best in the world.

On the other hand, we must acknowledge the level of competitiveness with this sport in our country. 

This is the reality facing sporting codes in Papua New Guinea. How do they raise their standards?

 The bottom line is the absence of regular international competition.

No matter how much money stakeholders, including the government, pour into these sports, international exposure is an important factor.

Rugby league will not improve unless the current status quo is addressed. 

Millions of taxpayers’ kina, highly credentialled coaches and high performance camps will not produce world class players overnight. 

Certainly not in a few weeks or months. 

I have always believed that the Port Moresby Vipers’ entry into the Queensland Cup two decades ago was a leap into the future for the development of rugby league. 

Their home game results were terrific. Their game improved with the players better conditioned to the demands of that level of competition. 

For arguments sake, fast forward 20 years to 2013.

Just imagine the number of players, senior and junior, who would have passed through the system. 

Imagine the number of players from PNG who would be scattered throughout the QRL, NSWRL and the NRL. 

Imagine how much stronger the players would be in their conditioning and mental approach.

Imagine for once how much weight this would have given to our ill-fated NRL licence bid which squandered so much money for absolutely no gain. 

We missed the golden opportunity to revolutionise our game because our rugby league administrators, and the government for that matter, lacked foresight.

So here we are in 2013 post-PM XIII shellacking and I ask the questions millions of Papua New Guineans are asking.

Why are there no Kumuls tours anymore? 

What has happened to the junior or schoolboy rugby league? 

What has happened to the talent identification camps? 

Where are the pathways for our elite junior players to follow? 

What is happening to the code’s development in terms of coaching clinics, refereeing clinics and junior rugby league camps?

We still do not have a rugby leage academy. 

We will continue to produce players at our local level who will not match the highly skilled professionals of Australia, New Zealand, France and Great Britain. 

It is time to think smart and chart a new path forward for rugby league. 

Micahel Tokutang