Jobs Events Advertise Newsletter

Kumuls captain wants Bennett to coach PNG NRL team

Joel Gould -

Papua New Guinea captain Kyle Laybutt backs the creation of a home-based NRL side and wants Wayne Bennett to be the inaugural coach.

The 28-year-old led the Kumuls to the Pacific Cup title on the international stage last year.

Laybutt welcomed recent comments by ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys that basing a PNG NRL side in Port Moresby rather than the north of Queensland was the best way forward.

The ARLC is investigating NRL expansion with PNG and Perth among leading contenders.

Bennett, off contract at the Dolphins as head coach at the end of 2024, supports a Perth bid and has said the PNG option would work if done right.

Laybutt disagrees with critics who say that players would not move to PNG to play NRL.

"Personally I would jump at the chance and take any opportunity to play NRL in Papua New Guinea" Laybutt told AAP.

"It is my second home and where my family heritage is from. I'd just have to convince the missus.

"There is a long way to go but I would like to see an NRL team based in Papua New Guinea for sure.

"That comes down to grassroots and setting up programs there first, but it would be awesome to have and I think we deserve a team.

"Every discussion Peter V'landys has had about the team he seems really excited about it and keen on the opportunity, so there are good signs."

V'landys was a prime mover behind Bennett coaching the Dolphins in their inaugural season in 2023 and Laybutt said the master coach would make for an ideal inaugural mentor.

"It would be beneficial to have someone with the experience and knowledge of Wayne Bennett as coach so if he gets the opportunity and wants it then absolutely I would support that," Laybutt said.

"Wayne's record speaks for itself."

The eruption of tribal violence in PNG's remote highlands after the death of 26 men last month led to Prime Minister James Marape handing arrest powers to the military.

The unrest followed chaotic scenes of rioting and looting in the capital Port Moresby and the nation's second-largest city Lae in January, when at least 15 people were killed.

Laybutt said that unrest would not prevent the NRL from thriving.

"We have had a Queensland Cup team (the PNG Hunters) there for 10 years and teams have never had any issues," Laybutt said.

"It would be hard to attract some players from overseas but if they bring local and home grown talent into an NRL squad there are a lot of boys in NRL or Super League systems now who would come back. I know that for sure."

Laybutt , who has played two NRL games for North Queensland, will captain the Townsville Blackhawks in the statewide Hostplus Cup this year.

The Blackhawks are an affiliate club of South Sydney.

"At the Blackhawks we just want to get back to playing finals footy but having a club like South Sydney looking over your shoulder and keeping an eye on you is just awesome," Laybutt said.

Joel Gould - AAP

   Related   

Souths hope to turn season around in Wighton's 250th
South Sydney claim to be unfussed by the ongoing Wayne Bennett transfer saga as...
Jacob Shteyman 18 May 2024
Hawks ready to take on Power test: ex-Port man Amon
Facing former club Port Adelaide isn't as big a deal for Karl Amon this year. T...
Anna Harrington 18 May 2024
Yorta Yorta man Jarman Impey to captain Hawthorn during Sir Doug Nicholls Round
Yorta Yorta man Jarman Impey will captain Hawthorn for the club’s two games duri...
Jackson Clark 18 May 2024
Not everything is black and white for Collingwood's Indigenous rounds preparations
Aliesha Newman’s strength on the football field is probably the acquired wisdom...
Andrew Mathieson 18 May 2024

   Joel Gould   

Souths hope to turn season around in Wighton's 250th
South Sydney claim to be unfussed by the ongoing Wayne Bennett transfer saga as...
Jacob Shteyman 18 May 2024
Hawks ready to take on Power test: ex-Port man Amon
Facing former club Port Adelaide isn't as big a deal for Karl Amon this year. T...
Anna Harrington 18 May 2024
New Caledonia starting to calm after nights of strife
French police reinforcements have begun arriving in New Caledonia in a massive...
Video emerges of the moment William Crowther statue is toppled
Video has emerged of Hobart’s William Crowther statue being cut down from its fo...
Callan Morse 17 May 2024