RECENT reports from Australia that the National Rugby League (NRL) clubs have agreed not to have an expanded competition in the immediate future will not affect PNG’s NRL aspirations according to the PNG NRL bid team.
From a report in the Daily Telegraph dated Dec 2, NRL chief executive David Gallop said even though NRL clubs were currently against an expanded competition, it however did not mean there definitely would not be expansion plans.
In a press conference yesterday, chairman of the PNG NRL bid team and Minister for Sport Philemon Embel made it clear that the NRL was focused on strengthening its competition and the 16 clubs before considering other plans.
In light of the report, Embel advised supporters of the PNG NRL bid not to lose hope in having a team in the NRL and assured them that the bidding team was working to complete a proposal that would be successful.
“We are confident that PNG’s NRL bid will still be successful despite what has been said in the Australian media.
“All it means is that the NRL has no immediate plans to have further teams join its competition but there will be an eventual expansion which PNG’s NRL bid will be in line for,” he said.
Embel and NCD Governor Powes Parkop, who is also a director on the PNG NRL bid team, were both very optimistic of PNG’s chances to win the bid.
Parkop added: “It won’t be easy and only through perseverance and a lot of hard work will we put forward a serious bid as the NRL can give us the chance but only through a very good bid.”
The bid team already has the funding and backing of the Government with their sights set on meeting the NRL criteria.
Embel and Parkop also called on the community to support the new PNGRFL board and the bid team who would work to ensure that the PNG NRL bid succeeded and see rugby league was promoted and developed for the benefit of the youth and the fans.