Greetings to all our rugby league family and welcome to our 28th edition of Fulltime Reserve, a weekly column to discuss all matters rugby league in our favourite newspaper The National.
Reaching the grand final of any sporting competition is a milestone and honour for clubs and their supporters. The achievement often is a testament to the investment put into the club by all its stakeholders over a sustained period of time.
On Sunday, Papua New Guinea witnessed another magnificent Digicel Cup grand final between the Lae Snax Tigers and the Kroton Hela Wigmen and we congratulate the Wigmen for winning the ti.
This week, excitement across PNG has been euphoric leading up to the National Rugby League grand final which will feature PNG international Justin Olam. He will be playing for the Melbourne Storm as they face the Penrith Panthers on Sunday.
Olam’s rise to rugby league stardom on the world stage is a remarkable story of humble beginnings, self-believe, hardwork, discipline, perseverance and overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds and challenges to achieve sporting greatness.
Olam has achieved a cult following and has become a source of pride and inspiration for many people in PNG. His continuing success is inspiring youths whilst also giving hope to the people of our nation to aspire for greatness, whatever our vocation or calling in life.
The PNG Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) and the rugby league family are very proud that Olam has developed through our pathway programmes from the schools through to the affiliate league (Lae Rugby League), Digicel Cup (Lae Tigers), SP Hunters, PNG LNG Kumuls and now in the best competition in the world.
PNGRFL is committed to continue to invest and improve the pathways to provide even greater opportunities for our athletes and officials to live and pursue their dreams.
PNGRFL and the rugby league family in PNG congratulate Olam for his achievements this year and we send our best wishes to him and the Storm.
Whilst several PNG players have played at the NRL level and NRL grand finals, many people in PNG admire Olam’s story, making him an ideal icon of the success our young people can achieve if they work hard with commitment, discipline and perseverance.
A relevant question many people in PNG ask, and rightfully so is, why have many PNG men and women not taken this pathway and why does it continue to be a challenge?
We will shed some light on this question in our column next week.
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Until next week, may the grace, love and care of our Good Lord be with you.