Australia backs PNG’s bid to hitch NRL with $5.5 million grant

The Albanese authorities has pledged $5.5 million in help of Papua New Guinea’s bid for the following NRL license.

Federal Minister for Worldwide Improvement Pat Conroy made the announcement throughout his go to to PNG this week and mentioned the funds could be used to develop pathways applications.

“Expertise identification and participant improvement are a vital a part of creating a aggressive and sustainable PNG NRL workforce,” Conroy mentioned.

There isn’t any dispute over PNG’s potential to drum up help for an 18th workforce.

However monetary backing and infrastructure had been seen as obstacles for PNG, who’re prone to be competing for an NRL license with bids from Perth and Brisbane.

PNG’s nationwide sport

The nation drew sturdy crowds to the annual Prime Ministers XIII match hosted earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic and is the one United Nations member state that formally recognises rugby league as its nationwide sport.

The Brisbane Tigers, additionally aiming to change into the competitors’s 18th workforce, have an elite coaching base, a reported $25m in money reserves and a historical past relationship again 100 years.

The Australian funds come after the PNG authorities pledged roughly $12m of their very own to the bid earlier this yr.

Anthony Albanese has been a vocal advocate for utilizing the NRL to strengthen ties with PNG, most just lately whereas visiting the nation in January to fulfill with Prime Minister James Marape.

“It’s the subsequent step in our help for rugby league in PNG,” Conroy mentioned of the $5.5m pledge.

“Australia and Papua New Guinea share a ardour for rugby league, and we all know how essential having an NRL workforce is for the individuals of PNG.

“There’s large potential for rugby league to carry our international locations even nearer collectively.”

Loads of competitors

Within the pre-season, Australian Rugby League chairman Peter V’landys mentioned a PNG workforce may enter the league as early as 2025, although the NRL doesn’t but have a agency timeline on granting its 18th license.

However the league is eager to make headway sooner moderately than later, given the fixturing challenges of fielding an odd variety of groups.

Perth, Brisbane and New Zealand are thought-about attainable places for an additional workforce, with hypothesis basis membership the North Sydney Bears may very well be revived in a brand new market.

Perth may have the possibility to push its case when the town hosts two video games at Optus Stadium in spherical 23.

PNG already fields a workforce, the PNG Hunters, within the Queensland Cup, the second-tier competitors that feeds expertise into varied NRL sides.

Solely a handful of gamers have made it from the Hunters into the NRL, although, most notably Melbourne centre Justin Olam.

-AAP


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