Jobs Events Advertise

Albanese throws weight behind PNG-based NRL side bid

Jarred Cross -

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is backing Papua New Guinea as the home of an 18th NRL's side, pressing on the competition to take a serious look at the island nation's bid for expansion.

On Wednesday the PM told reporters he was "very keen" to see a Pacific Islander side based out of the region and that he has raised it with the league ahead of his visit to the country.

In his historic address to PNG's Parliament on Thursday, the first foreign leader to do so, Mr Albanese discussed a strengthened relationship between the two nations within trade, resources and biosecurity.

Anthony Albanese addresses PNG's Parliament on Jan 12, 2023. image: Anthony Albanese Facebook

He posited rugby league as a topic shared between cultural sensibilities and claimed "sport is such a genuine and powerful way of building strong and lasting ties".

It is a mutual passion recently cultivated with PNG Prime Minister James Marape.

"When Prime Minister Marape and I watched the State of Origin together in Suva last year, he said there are only three days that your country stops. Game one, Game Two, and game three," Mr Albanese said to PNG's Parliament, eliciting a laugh from members.

"That is something I think that a lot of Australians can relate to, and it was great to see so many people getting off the Air New Guinea flights in Brisbane to support the talent of the criminals and the orchids in the Prime Minister's XIII matches.

"Today I affirm my view that I want to see a PNG based team Pacific Islanders competing in the national rugby league competition."

A side encompassing players and resources from Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Cook Islands together with PNG is being looked at as a possibility.

It comes with growing interest and improved performances from the regions at International level.

The NRL's newest bout of expansion begins this year when the Queensland-based Dolphins, forged out of state competition giants Redcliffe, debut as its 17th team.

Papua New Guinea has similarly held a presence in Australia's second-tier rugby league with the Hunters competing in the Queensland Cup for a decade.

PNG already have experience in high-level domestic competition with the Hunters competing in the Queensland Cup. image: SP PNG Hunters Facebook.

Their inclusion followed the short-lived Port Moresby Vipers two seasons in the 1990's.

PNG are poised to strengthen their bid toward entering the NRL for the 2025 season.

   Related   

Indigenous All Stars captain wants rising American women to Harden up ahead of 2026 World Cup
The change of heart began with a simple message of support to the US women’s rugby league national team, wishing the freshly-min...
Andrew Mathieson 29 Feb 2024
Larance headlines National Indigenous Cricket Championships Men's Team of the Tournament
Men’s award winners and teams of the tournament have been named following the completion of the 2024 National Indigenous Cricket...
Callan Morse 28 Feb 2024
Powell-Pepper cops four-match ban for 'careless' scratch-match collision
Sam Powell-Pepper could miss the opening month of the premiership season after being handed a four-match ban for his scratch-mat...
Jarred Cross 28 Feb 2024
Kilcunda: The tiny town on the road to Lionel Rose’s world title
On February 27, 1968 in Tokyo Lionel Rose ascended to boxing’s heights, taking the world bantamweight title from Japanese fighte...
Jarred Cross 28 Feb 2024

   Jarred Cross   

Powell-Pepper cops four-match ban for 'careless' scratch-match collision
Sam Powell-Pepper could miss the opening month of the premiership season after being handed a four-match ban for his scratch-mat...
Jarred Cross 28 Feb 2024
NSW women's XI lift trophy after flawless National Indigenous Cricket Championships
NSW have been crowned female champions of this year’s National Indigenous Cricket Championship after going through the tournamen...
Jarred Cross 27 Feb 2024
Melboune CBD James Cook statue becomes the latest targeted by vandals
A James Cook statue in Fitzroy Gardners on the edge of Melbourne's CBD has become the latest colonial monument targeted in a str...
Jarred Cross 27 Feb 2024
Jy Simpkin forced into 'frustrating' start to season, Crow and Blue on-track for returns
North Melbourne skipper Jy Simpkin will spend the opening third of the season in a protective glove after injuring his left hand...
Jarred Cross 27 Feb 2024