Papua New Guinea launch bid to become the latest addition to the NRL

Papua New Guinea has launched its bid to have a team in the NRL, which could be expanded to 18 teams within the next 10 years.

The Dolphins will become the NRL’s latest addition when they join the competition in 2023. And already talk is turning to further expansion with PNG firmly in the mix.

They would face strong competition. Perth are pushing to have a side in the NRL, while Brisbane and New Zealand also want another representative.

But it is the possibility of Papua New Guinea having a team that really grips the imagination. The bid has the backing of Prime Minister, James Marape. And Sports Minister Wesley Raminai has now spoken of their intention to push on with the bid.

The campaign was launched on Wednesday night and PNG hope to have a side in the NRL by 2030.

“Our PNG NRL bid team is ready. The time to start the journey is now. We can’t wait any longer,” Raminai said.

Papua New Guinea already have a base in Australia. The PNG Hunters play in the Queensland Cup and Marape has spoken of his intention to have them play in the NRL.

“We are preparing for possibility of PNG owning a team in the NRL in 2025,” he said last year. “That is why the Hunters are becoming an entity of their own and turning into a professional outfit. With the Hunters relocating to Australia using their new visa, it will be also easy for them to stay in Australia and play if they secure an NRL contract.”

NRL immortal Andrew Johns has spoken out in support in the past. While Justin Olam and Xavier Coates are among high-profile NRL players to come from Papua New Guinea. The national side, The Kumuls, are also ranked fifth in the world.

Papua New Guinea ready to go

PNG officials accept it will be a competitive process. But they have faith in their bid and are ready to give it a good shot.

“The investment and work we’ve done over the last 12 years with our infrastructure, governance and financial capacity and competitiveness of the sport in the country has put us in a good position,” PNG Rugby League chairman Sandis Tsaka said.

“Our men’s and women’s international teams are becoming competitive. Investment we’ve done across the game in terms of infrastructure has us in good stead to put in a good bid.

“We know there are other teams within Australia and New Zealand that have put their hand up. It will be a competitive process.”

About Michael Holland 88 Articles
Love Rugby League writer.

7 Comments

    • Small minded comments like that are not conducive to spreading the great game that is rugby league. Rugby league needs to expand its horizons and reach in this country – the Canadian experiment did not succeed in the end, although Covid was a big factor in the demise of Toronto Wolfpack.
      Being proudly Cornish, I can say that Cornwall is a hotbed of rugby and kids at school get introduced to a rugby ball before a football. The Cornwall project is an exciting one as it will see the club evolve organically and not like Toronto with NRL ringers drafted in. Just under 1500 came to the first home game and 903 were at the Rochdale Hornets game on Sunday in awful weather. We are not expecting miracles and know only a few wins are likely this season but we will turn out and back our Cornish boys loudly whatever the result.
      Cornwall has a good rugby league following and for many of us we are truly excited to see a Cornish side in the National league structure. I regularly go up to see Super League games (saw 4 games over Easter including all 3 Saints games) as do many other Cornish rugby league fans.
      We are keen to help spread the word and introduce new fans to the great game so please give us a chance.

      • Well said Andy. Tony don’t be so negative. Cornwall are doing things the right way. If it stays a lower league team with local lads amazing. Cornwall in super league with local players even better. Cornwall is a beautiful place, would be a fantastic away day.

  1. It is time that now for the Papua New Guinea to let rugby league world know how much we are so passionate about rugby… NRL granting licence to Papua New Guinea will mean alot in the hearts and minds of 8million plus people.

    • Would be great in PNG hunters were in. Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Cook Islands should get teams too. Too many in Sydney.

  2. It is better creating the opportunity for PNG local grassroots to make their way up big games (ANRL) but one thing we hate nebotism in selection and two current hunters players based in Ausies never performed well though they’re in condition. The point is we the tax payers feel the pain when do the analysis on how big money lost in PNG RFL. PNG loosing big money on rugby League. Our boys are no noway near and not performing at all this time. There must be a return from the huge money investment in/from Rugby.

    If Hunter perform this win this QCup I think that we’re eligible.

    Am sorry for such comment but as a tax payer I must put my opinion.

  3. The PNG Rugby League Competition and the administration is not properly organised to send the right message to the PNG NRL bid.

    I think what our local MPs are endorsing is only a mere sweet talks and look into the context of school boys rugby league development first and let’s adopt the concept of late Sigiyaro who pioneered and championed the school boys rugby without much of the govt support.

    PNG, don’t think it is ok to field a team into NRL when our own Hunters based in Queensland are not delivering favourable results on and off the field.

    The problem with us PNG Govt is, they are too good at talking and using the media platforms to market the idea but we must master the basic and get everything right before we can talk about bigger things.

    Small things like school boys development must be implemented right from the primary school up to high school and use the sports as a means to develop our raw talents from the childhood into taneegaehood and adulthood so that we can be ready to export our raw talents to overseas.

    You talk about James Sigiyaro and Justin Olam, they are the products of school boys rugby league and there’s no shortcuts as we propose to put national team into NRL..

    Thank you

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