New Pacific role for Sean Dorney

Australia_network About a month ago the ABC launched a new international television service, the Australia Network, which broadcasts to 10 million homes across Asia and the Pacific with news, sport, documentaries, drama and lifestyle programs.

Long-time ABC Papua New Guinea and Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney has just taken up a new role as Pacific correspondent for the Australia Network. His boss is former PNG broadcaster David Ransom, who's in charge of news and current affairs for the service.

SeandorneyFor the first time in about five years I met up with Sean over dinner last night – and am pleased to report he’s very enthusiastic about his new assignment. We shared a great evening with veteran broadcaster Phil Charley and artist and sculptor Hal Holman, just returned from Port Moresby where his most recent sculpture - of former PNG Prime Minister Rabbie Namaliu, with whom I shared a politics honours class in 1976 - was unveiled.

Sean is one of the ABC’s most experienced and respected correspondents, an acknowledged authority on Papua New Guinea and author of two books on PNG affairs. He lived and worked in PNG for almost 20 years and, in a roller coaster career, was both deported and awarded honours by the PNG Government. The first of his three postings to Papua New Guinea began in 1974, just before PNG independence, when I first met him.

Sean was captain of the PNG Rugby League national team, the Kumuls, and played representative football for two years. In 1991 the PNG Government awarded him an MBE for services to broadcasting and sport. He won a Walkley Award for radio news reporting after his coverage of the tsunami that struck PNG in July 1998. He returned to Australia in 1999 with wife Pauline, also a journalist. Apart from that impressive cv, Sean Dorney’s also a bloody good bloke.


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Reginald Renagi

Sean Dorney was a true legend in PNG Rugby League in his heyday. It's a real treat to watch him play at the Port Moresby Rugby League's grandstand. To date, I still class Sean Dorney as one of the most exciting rugby league players to wear the PNG Kumul jersey.

Sean was a very good tackler at the time. Most players can't run pass him without being put down in the classic copybook-style of an effective tackling technique.

I have even seen big heavier-built forwards not getting past Sean while trying to run him down. Sean's slim built fools them completely and can't believe it when they get tackled; they stay down.

After being grounded, they get up to play the ball with a surprised kind of a shock look on their faces. They wonder how they can be stopped at all, even at full pelt by this slim-built white man; with devoted fans all over the Llyod Robson Oval cheering him on.


I've always found it bemusing how Sean Dorney managed to get deported and awarded by our government.

The stuff of legend.

I hope you've considered writing a memoir Sean (fingers crossed it's already been started).

Sean Dorney

I've just answered this on another site - called Rugby League Front Row Geniuses or something.

I played for the Kumuls for two years 1975 and 1976.

In mid 1975 it was during the Pacific Cup - teams taking part were the Kumuls, the New Zealand Maoris, Victoria and Western Australia. We made the final but lost to the Maoris.

Later that year the Kumuls had their first test against England but, unfortunately for me, I was out with a dislocated neck.

The next year, 1976, I made the Kumuls again but the only game we had that year was against a representative side from country NSW. I was captain and we won.

I left PNG at the end of 1976 and in 1977 John Wagambie captained the Kumuls to an historic win over France.


Can anyone tell me what year Sean Dorney played for the Kumuls? And also which country were they tests against?

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