IN my opinion, the NRL Bid team has got it all completely wrong.
There are several factors which I will try to address individually.
The first thing I would like to comment on is the involvement of a minister, who is sitting as a board member of the NRL Bid team.
His involvement is not right because as Sports Minister, he should not be promoting one particular sport but all sports.
I believe the only reason he is involved is to pressure the NRL into accepting our bid.
Let us understand that the NRL, besides being a sporting organisation, is first and foremost a commercial entity.
Thus, its decisions are based on profit.
Unlike PNG, a commercial entity in Australia will not bow to political pressure.
The rightful group to spearhead this bid should be the PNG Rugby Football League.
I can only speculate on its reluctance to be involved in the bid but assume that some of the reasons may be similar to mine.
The other thing that I want to raise is the Singsing Tribe talent quest.
What has the quest got to do with promoting rugby league?
The Bid Team’s explanation was that it would be the official cheer leading squad.
Hang on a second, where and when was the licence issued?
What is the point of having a cheer squad when there is no team to cheer for?
There is plenty of time to put together a cheer squad.
The other issue is the decision to upgrade the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium to a world-class stadium.
There are two reasons why I oppose the choice of this stadium.
The first is its historical significance; this is where the Australian flag was lowered for the last time, signalling PNG’s Independence.
We have neglected and destroyed most of our historical sites in the name of progress, so let us keep some of these to remind us of our past and this stadium is one such place.
The other reason is that I believe that area is not big enough to cater for the type of stadium being proposed.
Let us look at the land area required.
A standard size rugby league field is 69m x 100m with 11m in goal area at either end. This would make the playing field 69m x 122m.
You would then need at least 5m from the touch lines on all sides to the sitting area. This would make the playing field 79m x 132 m.
I do not know the sitting capacity of the proposed stadium, nor am I an architect, but if it is something like the Gold Coast, you would need at least another 50m on all sides for seats, dressing room amenities and perimeter fencing, which would make the total area 179m x 222m.
If we were to include car park, then we are looking at a huge piece of land.
So unless the Bid Team would like to build its sitting area across the roads, it should look at alternate sites.
There are a number of important things the Bid team should look at in order to convince the NRL to consider granting a licence to a PNG team.
I believe there is a lack of talented players and the standard of our local competition is not good enough to justify forming a team.
There are a number of ways to address these issues and I have two suggestions.
Firstly, we need to strengthen local league through the injection of funds, capacity building by conducting administration, coaching and refereeing workshops and improvement of league grounds.
The more important task would be increase our core playing pool by forming a junior development programme through the introduction of mini and junior rugby league programmes across the country.
We need to create a pathway to the NRL for these juniors by offering scholarships for exceptional talents to study and play in strong rugby league schools in Queensland and New South Wales.