By PARKER TAMBUA
PRIME Minister James Marape says he is eyeing the inclusion of a Papua New Guinea team in Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) in 2025.
He said that during the signing of a release agreement by Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) chairman Sandis Tsaka for the SP Hunters to be under their new board.
The signing was done after the Matthew Church-coached Hunters left the country on Sunday for Brisbane, where they will undergo a 14-day quarantine before relocating to Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast.
“We are preparing for possibility of PNG owning a team in the NRL in 2025,” Marape said.
“That is why the Hunters are becoming an entity of their own and turning into a professional outfit.
“With the Hunters relocating to Australia using their new visa, it will be also easy for them to stay in Australia and play if they secure an NRL contract.
“We can produce more Hunters and send them to Australia.”
The Australian Government, through its High Commission, also revealed that it shared the same goals as Marape and PNGRFL to see a PNG team join the NRL.
Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp also signed an agreement with PNGRFL, Queensland Rugby League and the PNG Government to help develop the game in the country.
“The prime minister and I were discussing his aspiration to see a PNG team play in the NRL in 2025 on the country’s 50th anniversary,” Philp said.
“It’s great to set some goals and PNG-Australian partnership will help you push for that.”
Marape said the release agreement was a step in the right direction as it would help PNG achieve its dream of having a team in the NRL.
By PARKER TAMBUA