Rugby league poorly managed

Main Stories, Sports

ONE of the country’s sports managers has offered his unbiased assessment of rugby league saying it is poorly managed and will continue to struggle in the future.
The manager speaking on anonymity, told The National yesterday that the country’s number one code would find it hard to attract overseas professionals because of the fractured state it was in and the continuous political in-fighting.
“What rugby league needs in this country is a strong structure and good management, which is not there.
“You’ve got lots of groups (associations and franchises) pulling in different directions making it hard for any progress.”
He pointed to the bemobile Cup as an irrelevant competition that did not really contribute to developing the game in the provinces.
“The bemobile Cup does not develop local talents from an area or region because franchises are free to source players from anywhere,” he said.
He suggested a cap on the number of players brought into a team so the local talent could have a chance to progress.
He added that local players should be given priority and this would build real pride in provincial teams.
“Goroka Lahanis are a success story this season because all their players are home-bred from competitions in Goroka and the Eastern Highlands and thats the way it should be.”
He said other teams like the Gurias and Muruks were known to source a large percentage of players from outside their provinces and this ran counter to  developing players in the provinces.
The manager, who has had extensive overseas experience, said sorting out the rugby league situation in the country would not only be a huge task, but also a difficult one given the history of bad management and political interference. “A good example of just how fractured the running of rugby league is in PNG is the situation with the PNG NRL  bid team working in isolation from the PNGRFL.
“It should be that the NRL bid works with the PNGRFL but thats not the case.”
He said the other disconcerting aspect of rugby league was unnessecary influence of politicians especially with the bid.
The administrator who has brought about enormous changes to his sport in his short tenure (two years) says he is still not satisfied with the changes and progress he has affected.
“We’ve come a long way in the sport over the last three years with regional centres and junior development programmes set up and running around the country but my main goal is to get the PNG men’s team to break into the top 18 internationally and to qualify for a world cup in 2012,” he said.
On the Kumuls performance at the Four Nations, the South Australian said coach Stanley Gene was put in a no-win situation by the PNGRFL and basically “set up for failure” with a band aid solution.
“Whether Gene is qualified or not his job was always going to be next to impossible.
“He’s been set up to fail, and the blame is with the PNGRFL and current and past management and their poor record of administering the sport.”
The cheif executive officer added that in his opinion the rot set in when PNG won the Apcific Cup last year.
“I think we were kidding ourselves after winning the Pacific Cup last year thinking we were better than we really were.”