League officials impressed


AUSTRALIA Rugby League commission chairman John Grant and rugby league World Cup chairman Dr George Peponis were in Port Moresby last week to watch the second Pool C match between the Papua New Guinea and Ireland.
After the game last Sunday, they hosted a dinner in which PNG Sports vice-minister Wesley Raminai, PNGRFL chairman Sandis Tsaka, PNGRFL chief executive officer Reatau Rau, Oil Search managing director Peter Botten, New Zealand Rugby League board member John Bishop, Queensland Rugby League chairman Bruce Hatcher and QRL chief executive officer Rob Moore were among the invited guests.
Grant, who is also deputy chairman of Rugby League International Federation, said it was a memorable experience to join representatives of the three host nations — PNG, New Zealand and Australia — together with representatives of the organising committee following PNG’s exciting and close win over Ireland.
“The near 15,000 crowd made for an exhilarating experience that attests to the significance of international rugby league in PNG,” Grant said.
Peponis said it was his first visit to PNG and a rugby league game here and “it was an unforgettable experience”.
“The crowd were passionate and showcased their pride and showcased their pride in the game and their country to millions of people around the world,” he said.
He said PNG was the only country that had rugby league as its national sport and the people should be proud for hosting the tournament.
“The stadium is a first class venue and all the players and coaching staff have made comment of the facilities,” Dr Peponis said.
“By successfully hosting three World Cup matches, PNG has proven to the world that they are capable of hosting major tournaments.”
Peponis said 2017 RLWC chief executive officer Andrew Hill, who is the new Canterbury Bulldogs boss, has begun looking into membership opportunities in PNG.
“I know the new CEO of the Bulldogs has already started to look at membership opportunities and potential opportunities for the club to have a relationship with PNG Rugby League in future years.”