Sport Feed

The implications of Rugby’s persecution of Israel Folau

Israel Folau
Israel Folau "has not sought to persecute; all he has done is issue a heartfelt, albeit misdirected, warning"


TUMBY BAY - The appalling decision by the politically correct pedants at Rugby Australia to terminate Israel Folau’s contract for the apparently heinous offence of posting a comment on his religious beliefs has set a very dangerous precedent.

I’m not particularly inclined to get excited about grown men chasing a leather ball around a paddock nor am I inclined to believe in supreme beings but I am inclined to believe that people like Israel Folau have a perfect right to say what they believe without fear of persecution.

What he said is what he believes. He was born in New South Wales of Tongan parents. As a Pacific Islander his profound religious beliefs come as no surprise.

That he felt the need to warn people who are different to him of the imputed biblical consequences of those differences, irrelevant as that may be, is also not particularly unusual.

Continue reading "The implications of Rugby’s persecution of Israel Folau" »

Tahina Booth & the healing power of rugby league

Tahina Booth in full cry against the Jillaroos (Nathan Hopkins NRL)
Tahina Booth in full cry against the Jillaroos
(Nathan Hopkins NRL)


SYDNEY - For Tahina Booth, having the opportunity to play for the Cronulla Sharks in this year’s Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership has been a game-changer.

Tahina only recently returned to the game after some time away and is enjoying playing alongside some of the biggest names in women’s rugby league.

"When Ruan Sims speaks, I am just in awe. I am a low-key fan girl. I feel the same way about Corban McGregor. I love the team and I love the culture," she said.

Whilst Tahina may be in awe of her team-mates, she hasn’t had the opportunity to share her personal story with them. Undoubtedly, if the rest of the team knew that story, they would be low-key fan-girling about her, too.

Tahina grew up in Papua New Guinea and has a deep personal understanding about the levels of gender inequality that exist there.

Continue reading "Tahina Booth & the healing power of rugby league" »

Komo youth drop guns & knives to pick up a rugby ball


PORT MORESBY - After six years of tribal fighting, the youth of Komo in Hela Province have taken it upon themselves to reject violence and start the first ever rugby competition.

“We started this about six weeks ago,” said Dr Michael Mai patron of the Komo Rugby Football League Association (KRL) at the official launch last month.

“This is history in the making, a dawn of a new day for this electorate.

“As we are all aware this place was once a no go zone. Komo was a ghost town with no activity except for security vehicles driving up and down the roads.”

Seeing that the youths were being drawn into tribal fighting and substance abuse, KRL chairman Morris Edwin teamed up with Dr Mai to trial 10 teams in a Christmas touch football game.

Continue reading "Komo youth drop guns & knives to pick up a rugby ball" »

To challenge China's influence, Australia turns to rugby league

PNG PM's XIII versus Australia (NRL)STAFF CORRESPONDENT | Reuters

SYDNEY - Australia will direct more foreign aid to develop the sport of rugby league in the Pacific, officials say, bolstering a soft power offensive against China’s growing influence in the region.

The plan, backed by prime minister Scott Morrison, aims to tap into a shared passion for the bruising game — which differs from its more globally popular cousin, rugby union — by funding more coaching clinics and exhibition matches on far-flung Pacific islands being wooed by China.

“The prime minister sees rugby league as a central component of his soft-power plan as China’s influence in the Pacific grows,” said a senior rugby league official.

Continue reading "To challenge China's influence, Australia turns to rugby league" »

Chad Soper an unlikely cricket find as Barramundis rise

Chad Soper
Chad Soper made his PNG debut in the baggy black in 2015

JOSH SIM | ABC Newcastle

NEWCASTLE - An Australia-based member of Papua New Guinea's national cricket team is confident the Pacific nation can become a powerhouse of tier-two world cricket after its success in Hong Kong last month.

Born in Port Moresby to a Papua New Guinean mother and a New Zealander father, Chad Soper grew up on the New South Wales Central Coast.

Last month he returned from a tour of Hong Kong where he was a member of PNG national side the Barramundis which completed a set of 2-1 victories in a tier two One Day International and T20 International series.

Tier two teams include Scotland, the Netherlands and Nepal, while the world's top 12 teams contest the ICC Test Championship.

But just getting to represent his nation has been an unlikely achievement for the young cricketer, now a valuable member of the world's 17th-ranked side.

Continue reading "Chad Soper an unlikely cricket find as Barramundis rise" »

Best of our new years: Smokin' Joe's Moresby encounter

2008 - Joe FrazierRICHARD JONES (2008)

BENDIGO - In the mid-1970s Muhammad Ali's greatest opponent, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, and entourage visited Port Moresby.

They were in town for a few days and Joe went a few exhibition rounds at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium. His opponent one night was James ‘Digger’ Annand, a noted rugby league player for DCA.

The fit, blond Annand towered over the former world heavyweight champion, who was of stocky build but with enormous thighs (he had to have specially tailored boxing shorts).

Digger poked out long, left leads as the ex-champ bobbed and weaved. Mercifully Joe didn't throw the famous left hook which sent Ali sprawling to the canvas in their first bout, the 1971 world championship at Madison Square Garden.

The Moresby stadium was packed on that balmy evening more than three decades ago. As ring announcer, I recall a number of Papua New Guineans bursting from their grandstand seats, pushing through the security cordon and throwing a few choice words Frazier's way from ringside.

"Joe Fraz-ee-yah. You not in the same class as Muhammad Ali,'' was the refrain before the interlopers were hustled away. Frazier might have been a great fighter, but for the PNG boxing fans, Ali was their man.

Now what’s the best puripuri – stuff from Rabaul or from the Gulf?

Sean Dorney
Sean Dorney was an ABC journalist in PNG around the time he captained the national rugby league team


SYDNEY – As you, my more faithful readers, will already know from my previous scribblings, during my time in Papua New Guinea I had the pleasure and privilege of playing rugby league with some highly talented players, both Papua New Guinean and expatriate.

Of the latter group Sean Dorney and Bill Phillips were standouts. In the 1975 season the three of us were the only expats playing for the Port Moresby Club, Paga. The rest of the team was mainly drawn from the New Guinea Islands.

Towards the end of the season we had to play Gulf, a team of big tough players drawn mainly from Gulf Province. A win for us was essential if we were to qualify for the finals.

So to ensure this was the case, one of Paga’s committee was dispatched to Rabaul to obtain a magic potion, or puripuri, which, we were told, if applied to the body would result in certain victory.

Prior to the game we all smeared it on. All over ourselves. Good Rabaul puripuri.

Continue reading "Now what’s the best puripuri – stuff from Rabaul or from the Gulf?" »

Open yer meat pies, sink the slipper & go the biff! Get me?

1974 team
The 1974 New Guinea team that beat Papua in Port Moresby. The game ended in a riot


SYDNEY - Nicknames are common in sport; particularly so in adult male teams. Many rugby league players who graced the playing fields of Port Moresby in the 1960s and 1970s boasted a wide variety of monikers.

Some came to Moresby from ‘down south’ with them already attached by some other body who hadn’t bother to explain them to us.

So we didn’t know why DCA’s James Annand was always referred to as ‘Digger’ or Barry van Heekeren was ‘Mocha’.

But many others were christened after they arrived and, in our usual lazy way, we simply linked. nicknames to surnames.

One more colourful handle I remember was that of Magani lower grade coach Jim Taylor who was called ‘Squizzy’ after the notorious Melbourne criminal.

Continue reading "Open yer meat pies, sink the slipper & go the biff! Get me?" »

The day the sport of kings took on an entirely new meaning

Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty with Midge Didham aboard wins the 1980 Caulfield Cup at 66/1 - lucky for some


SYDNEY - Occasionally I like to have a small flutter on the horses, usually with little success. But it’s a pleasant pursuit I continued through my PNG days and the infrequent win was always a cause of great delight.

The only time I won anything worthwhile was when former Papua New Guinea colonial politician John Pasquarelli (later Pauline Hansen's controversial adviser) advised me to back his horse, Luddenham Lass, which won.

Trevor Downs, owner of the Vanimo Hotel, also tipped me his horse, Binatang. It didn’t win but came second at odds of 100/1 so I still collected.

But my biggest pay-day ever in PNG was purely by accident. Back in the 1970s I used to regularly back a magnificent grey horse, Ming Dynasty and I had wagered on him when he won the Caulfield Cup in 1977.

Continue reading "The day the sport of kings took on an entirely new meaning" »

Noble art – the day Doug Beer sought the solace of the ropes

Digger Annand
After Digger Annand left PNG he played rugby league in Australia. Here he prepares to take a ball for Taree United


SYDNEY - During Port Moresby rugby league’s off season in the 1960s and 1970s, some players turned to boxing to keep fit.

Bouts were usually held at the old Nita Theatre in Tabari Place, Boroko, though sometimes bigger promotions were held at Lloyd Robson Oval or Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.

The biggest boxing attraction from rugby league ranks was the big James ‘Digger’ Annand, a talented and tough second rower cum centre from the DCA club. Digger was also a competent heavyweight boxer.

After a series of bouts against second rate opponents from Port Moresby’s league ranks, a group of expatriate promoters matched him with a known fighter from Australia, a man named Doug Beer.

Beer claimed to be the “heavyweight champion of the Riverina”, whatever that meant. In reality he had featured in only 14 bouts, winning a few but on the losing end of most.

Moreover he had been knocked out in his last two fights which had taken place about two years before his appearance in Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Noble art – the day Doug Beer sought the solace of the ropes" »

The early days of Papuan rugby league: Friday nights at the PRL

Papua v New Guinea 1964
Program for the annual Papua versus New Guinea encounter, 1964


SYDNEY - In the 1960s and 1970s there was only once place to be in Port Moresby on Friday night, well during the footie season anyway.

The place was the Papuan Rugby League ground in Boroko, play starting with Reserve Grade at six followed by A Grade at nine, usually finishing around 10.30 which gave most club members four or five hours to get well lubricated.

Although there were only five A Grade clubs the standard of play was high and supporters very committed to their teams. As the consumption of alcohol escalated, so did the noise of barracking.

But, as tough and skilled as were the games, the real action took place after the final whistle of A Grade. The downstairs area of the club became a venue for Games Night, each club taking it in turn to run the events which were a valuable source of funds.

The games included Under and Overs, Crown and Anchor and, later in the evening, Two Up. As you would expect, the mix of alcohol, parochialism and gambling created a heady atmosphere although ever vigilant club officials made sure fights rarely occurred within the gambling area. After all, if things got out of hand, they could lose a lot of money and the revenue from these nights was essential. (Rugby League in PNG was professional even in those days.)

Continue reading "The early days of Papuan rugby league: Friday nights at the PRL" »

A tale of two boxers, the Queen and a happy ending

The bout
A grainy screenshot of Tumat Sogolik fighting Barry McGuigan in the controversial Commonwealth Games gold medal bout in Edmonton in 1978


SYDNEY - Boxing can be a cruel game. Not only do boxers suffer in the ring but many, even after successful careers, end up destitute; some with severe health problems.

There are few happy endings in this so called sport.

This story, however, is one of them. It involves two amateur boxers, one from Ireland and the other from a remote province of Papua New Guinea who battled out the final of the bantamweight division at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada.

Barry McGuigan was a tough 17 year old from Cloves, Ireland, although he represented Northern Ireland at the Games.

Tumat Sogolik was 23 and a customs officer born in New Ireland. He was an experienced amateur having won gold at two regional boxing championships in the Pacific and was something of a national hero in PNG.

Continue reading "A tale of two boxers, the Queen and a happy ending" »

Mary Tenge: Melanesian athlete & the pride of Barengigl


BARENGIGL – Seventeen year old Mary Tenge is participating in the Melanesian athletic championship in Vanuatu and the people of Barengigl are mightily proud.

A Grade 9 student, Mary lives in Barengigl village in the Gembogl District of Simbu Province, the second child of Boi and Degba Tenge - the only girl child among their four children.

Mary – a specialised 1,500 metres and steeple chase runner - is in Papua New Guinea’s athletics team for the regional championships.

She discovered her potential as a middle distance runner in 2015 during the annual Mt Wilhelm relay marathon, the initiative of the former MP for Kundiawa-Gembogl, Tobias Kulung.

Every relay marathon team comprises six members who each run a distance of seven kilometres to complete the 46 kilometre race. Mary was the opening runner in her team and her speed over the distance led to her potential being discovered.

Continue reading "Mary Tenge: Melanesian athlete & the pride of Barengigl" »

And now the sports report – the last bastion of fair play gone


1982 Games
Stamp from 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games - 36 years later, has sport lost its way?

TUMBY BAY - I’ve been especially careful this week to avoid television sets, but it’s been harder than I thought.

Everywhere I go they are there; be it the local supermarket, airport or doctor’s surgery.

And they’re all showing the same program, the Commonwealth Games: an endless, mind-numbing cavalcade of running, jumping, swimming, pedalling and throwing of objects.

I’ve got nothing against sport; if it turns you on that’s well and good.

It’s a great equaliser and a great substitute for more violent tendencies, like warfare.

Indeed, if our great religions made sport a mandatory part of their faith the world might be a much more peaceful place.

Continue reading "And now the sports report – the last bastion of fair play gone" »

Aspirational Orchids seek to break cycle of domestic violence

Orchids (Courier-Mail)
Orchids national rugby league team - hurriedly assembled but came together brilliantly to inspire PNG

CAROLINE LAYT | Inside Sport

SYDNEY - The newly formed Papua New Guinea’s women’s rugby league team have created a much needed presence for sports women in their country following a spirited World Cup campaign.

With a United Nations report putting domestic violence levels committed against women in PNG at 67%, the Orchids have created a much needed pathway for women to aspire and escape the cycle of domestic violence.

Orchids captain Cathy Neap told Inside Sport how important the team’s presence was in giving squad members a profile at home.

Neap said her squad were now performing similar feats on the field as PNG men’s team making what she believes is a permanent change for the better.

Continue reading "Aspirational Orchids seek to break cycle of domestic violence" »

Practical & pragmatic action needed for PNG rugby league

Kumuls - winning & grinning as they make a big impact on world rugby league


PORT MORESBY - It’s time to take stock after the 2017 Rugby League World Cup

The PNG Hunters this year won the Queensland Intrust-Super Cup after being in the competition just four years.

Riding on the back of that success, our national team, the Kumuls, surpassed all previous records and rising above their world ranking of 16 by winning all pool games in front of parochial sell-out crowds at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

Now, with PNG knocked out in the quarter finals, the hard lessons need to be learned. Let this world cup be the beginning of bigger and better things for PNG Rugby League.

PNG rugby league board and management have hinted that they need to put in place a junior program, including a schoolboys program. These must happen without haste in 2018.

Continue reading "Practical & pragmatic action needed for PNG rugby league" »

Kumuls need to keep down error count to challenge England

Josh Hodgson and James Segeyaro (Gregg Porteous & David Buller)
Josh Hodgson & James Segeyaro


England v Papua New Guinea, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Sunday 4pm AEDT

MELBOURNE - England face an undefeated Papua New Guinea side who venture outside Port Moresby for the first time in this Rugby League World Cup.

Wayne Bennett's England side has shown patches of what they are capable of, without yet putting in an 80-minute performance, with victories over France (36-6) and Lebanon (29-10).

The Kumuls come to Melbourne after accounting for Wales, Ireland and the USA by a combined 128-12.

The English get Sam Burgess back who returns from a knee injury and will start in the second row, with Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins replacing Stefan Ratchford and Mark Percival in the backline.

Continue reading "Kumuls need to keep down error count to challenge England" »

Kumuls can knock England out of world cup says Paul Aiton

Paul Aiton


LONDON - Paul Aiton is convinced Papua New Guinea can pull off a major shock by knocking England out of the World Cup.

Aiton and his Kumuls team will have eight million fans screaming them on back in PNG.

The Catalans and former Leeds star admits even he’s in awe of the passion in a country where rugby league is the national sport.

He said: “We’ve had a lot of trouble with politics and tribal stuff but when we play for the Kumuls everyone is behind us.

“It is hard for other people to understand. PNG people just love the game - they even clap if the other team does something well which is unreal.”

England are big favourites to win Sunday’s quarter-final in Melbourne but Aiton insists his side also have their eyes on the semi-finals. He said: “Our chances are very good, 50-50 as far as we’re concerned. We are training to win.”

Continue reading "Kumuls can knock England out of world cup says Paul Aiton" »

Women’s rugby league's power for change in PNG


Cathy Neap
Cathy Neap - rugby league is helping redefine PNG women

SYDNEY - No one needs to tell Papua New Guinea captain Cathy Neap about the power of the Women's Rugby League World Cup.

And it's not about growing the game, as league is already PNG's national pastime.

The fact is that women are now playing at the highest level has helped the country's female population overcome one of the nation's worst-kept secrets: an alarmingly high rate of domestic violence.

Cathy Neap plays in the back row for the Orchids and is proud to captain PNG at their first World Cup appearance. She says she owes rugby league another debt of gratitude.

"Definitely this game is working for us, for the women. We are gaining respect from the men in my country," she told

Continue reading "Women’s rugby league's power for change in PNG" »

Ireland coach: ‘Our match against PNG is like a grand final’

Oliver Roberts featured for the Wolfhounds in their win against Italy
Oliver Roberts featured for the Wolfhounds in their match against Italy


PORT MORESBY - Ireland's rugby league world cup pool game today against co-hosts Papua New Guinea will be their ‘grand final’ according to Irish coach Mark Aston.

Ireland beat Italy 36-12 in their first match, while Papua New Guinea were 50-6 winners over Wales.

Aston, who has worked with a number of PNG’s players at Sheffield, has stuck with the same side to face the Group C leaders in Port Moresby.

"We've got a plan and, if we execute it, then who knows?" he said.

"To get a look at them against Wales was great for us. We're not going to be shocked."

Continue reading "Ireland coach: ‘Our match against PNG is like a grand final’" »

Kumuls take on Ireland - & we predict a 16-point PNG win

The mighty Kumuls
The mighty Kumuls take on the Irish Wolfhounds

DREW DARBYSHIRE | Love Rugby League

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea will welcome Ireland to Port Moresby tomorrow, with the Irish going into the game with nothing to lose.

The Kumuls stole the headlines last weekend on and off the field as  they eased past Wales 50-6 in front of a sell-out crowd of nearly 15,000 in the PNG capital.

Meanwhile, Ireland surprised quite a few people as they put in a dominant display against an Italy side full of experience and were 36-12 victors in Cairns.

All the pressure is now on the Kumuls though, as they are the home nation and play all three of their group games in Port Moresby, which is the hotbed for rugby league in PNG.

Continue reading "Kumuls take on Ireland - & we predict a 16-point PNG win" »

I'm excited about the World Cup – one reason is the PNG Orchids

PNG Orchids
PNG Orchids celebrate a try against the Jillaroos (Brendan Esposito)

MARY KONSTANTOPOULOS | Ladies Who League | Edited extracts

SYDNEY - The countdown officially over, yesterday the 2017 Rugby League World Cup began.

Whilst the Kangaroos and England, who played last night with a hard fought win for Australia, are expected to be two of the strongest teams taking part in the tournament, it has been 45 years since the Paul Barriere Trophy was last claimed by England and England failed to qualify for the last three tournament finals.

The English national team will be looking to change that in 2017.

Whilst there may be plenty of anticipation ahead of the opening clash of the tournament, if you have been following the media you will know that the build-up to this particular Rugby League World Cup has had plenty of interesting storylines.

Continue reading "I'm excited about the World Cup – one reason is the PNG Orchids" »

Passion to progress: PNG poised to enjoy best ever World Cup

NICK CAMPTON | Daily Telegraph

David Mead will captain PNG in his third World Cup
David Mead will captain PNG in his third rugby league world cup

THE strides Papua New Guinean rugby league has taken in the last few years alone are quite staggering.

The PNG Hunters’ victory in the Queensland Cup grand final can be counted as one of the finest days in rugby league’s history for that country, and perhaps as one of their greatest wins in any sport.

Forget what you saw at ANZ Stadium on NRL grand final day, when the overmatched Hunters were flattened out mentally. Their achievement the week before, the performance of rugby league in Papua New Guinea is finally matching the passion.

Rugby league law dictates I must divulge the well known fact that rugby league is the national sport in Papua New Guinea, but the stories of the locals’ hunger for the game are well known. The love for the code in that part of the world is intense beyond almost anything you’ll ever see in Australia.

Continue reading "Passion to progress: PNG poised to enjoy best ever World Cup" »

Intrust Championship: Hunters won’t let down PNG & Queensland

PNG Hunters celebrate their finals win
"For at least one day, the Hunters will be Queenslanders"

RIKKI-LEE ARNOLD | The Courier-Mail

BRISBANE - WHEN COACH Michael Marum talks about what Sunday’s Intrust Super Championship means to the PNG Hunters, it’s not just another chance to win for their country, but also for their state.

Marum’s team made history last weekend, when they claimed their first Intrust Super Cup premiership.

Today they represent the entire Queensland competition as they come up against the winners of the NSW competition, the Penrith Panthers.

For Marum, this means that for at least one day, the Hunters will be Queenslanders.

Continue reading "Intrust Championship: Hunters won’t let down PNG & Queensland" »

Rugby league rising: the Papua New Guinea Hunters

PNG Hunters 2
“We will put up a fight for you. We’re gonna do it, and we will never back down”

| Extract (read the full article here)

TODAY: PNG Hunters v Penrith Panthers: 2.40pm (Queensland time) at ANZ Stadium, Sydney. Watch the game live on Channel 9

PORT MORESBY - “We will put up a fight for you. We’re gonna do it, and we will never back down.”

Those words from their team song are enough to tell you what the PNG Hunters are all about. A loyal following behind them, they are the only non-Australian based side in the whole of the National Rugby League, and they are out with a point to prove.

Four years after their formation, they were crowned as the first non-Queensland side to win the Queensland Cup (reserve grade) after defeating the Sunshine Coast Falcons in a dramatic final.

Today they have their biggest clash so far, against NSW Cup champions the Penrith Panthers in the In-Trust State Championship blockbuster.

Continue reading "Rugby league rising: the Papua New Guinea Hunters" »

The Hunters famous win - an inspiration to fight for PNG

SAM KOIM The crowd

BRISBANE - The PNG Hunters made all of us proud at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

The opponents, the Sunshine Coast Falcons, scooped up two easy tries at the start of the game which got many PNG fans wondering whether we'd ever make it.

Our boys came back as ferocious raging bulls, nullifying our opponent’s every claim of territory, and proceeded to take complete control of the game.

Our emotions all hung out when our boys claimed the last winning try to seal victory.

Continue reading "The Hunters famous win - an inspiration to fight for PNG" »

An ode to the PNG Hunters

DeterminationMALUM NALU

They came from north of the border
To the colosseum at Suncorp
Modern-day gladiators
Hunters from Papua New Guinea

They carried the hopes and dreams of a nation
Upon their shoulders
So much gloom, doom and despair
A little ray of sunshine was needed

All was lost, it seemed
When in from the cold came Willie Minoga
Like a runaway freight train from Enga
Grounding the ball at the last minute

Continue reading "An ode to the PNG Hunters" »

Oz players on playing league against PNG: ‘I got hit by granite’

Australia v PNGJAMES BUCKLEY | Fairfax Media | Edited extract

SYDNEY - Speak to anyone that's played rugby league in Papua New Guinea, and they will all furnish you with unbelievable stories of the insatiable passion the locals possess for their national sport.

PNG is a developing and diverse country with more than 800 languages, high crime and significant unemployment, but rugby league is the constant that unites its eight million people.

But when their Australian heroes come to these shores for the annual Prime Minister's XIII fixture against Papua New Guinea, played yesterday, quite often that lust for the game bubbles over into tragedy.

Cronulla back rower Wade Graham played his first PM's XIII match in 2012 and it's an experience he'll never forget.

"The grandstand collapsed the year I was there and a few people died, it was pretty full on," Graham said.

Continue reading "Oz players on playing league against PNG: ‘I got hit by granite’" »

Heaps of people from PNG to see Hunters, says Justin Olam

Sunshine Coast Falcons centre Justin Olam (Warren Lynam)
Justin Olam in full flight for the Sunshine Coast Falcons

TOM THREADINGHAM | Sunshine Coast Daily

MAROOCHYDORE -: Although Sunshine Coast Falcon Justin Olam says he is proud of his fellow PNG Hunters countrymen for achieving a spot in the final, come kick-off there will be no love lost.

Olam played for the Hunters last year and before that he was part of Lae Snax Tigers.

The centre expects a tough clash in Sunday afternoon’s Intrust Super Cup grand final in Brisbane, but said there was no rivalry or ill-will between the Hunters and himself.

"It's a bit different and I've never played against my (old) team like that in such big games but I'm a Falcon so I'll give my best for the Falcons,” he said.

"It's just a game, it’s not about rivalry or whatever.

"I think they are going to play hard to win the game and we will play hard to win the game and that's it.”

Continue reading "Heaps of people from PNG to see Hunters, says Justin Olam" »

Sudden contract termination leaves dismays PNG cricket coach


DIPAK Patel says his abrupt departure as Papua New Guinea cricket coach has left a "sour taste" in his mouth.

The former New Zealand international had been in charge for three years, leading the Barramundis to their first four-day and one-day international victories and 16th place in the World T20 rankings.

Patel's contract was due to expire at the end of next month but he said a new deal had been agreed before Cricket PNG informed him 10 days ago that his tenure was over.

"I didn't really have a lot of time - I suppose it didn't really sink in, didn't give me that opportunity to be honest with you - the fact that I was just given a week’s notice to terminate my contract," Patel said.

Continue reading "Sudden contract termination leaves dismays PNG cricket coach" »

The beautiful and challenging inconsistencies of sport

PNG Hunters in trainingPHILIP KAI MORRE

WHEN the first Olympic Games were held in Athens, the motto adopted was ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’, which means faster, higher and stronger.

The Olympic creed was not to win but to take part, not to have conquered but to have fought well.

All participating athletes swear the Olympic oath in which they promise to respect and follow the rules of good sportsmanship.

The Olympic flame symbolises the continuity between the ancient and modern games, for the torch is lit by the sun’s rays in Olympia, Greece, and carried by relay runners to the host site. It is an ancient tradition that is kept alive in all countries including Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "The beautiful and challenging inconsistencies of sport" »

Sport is just not me, but other people love it apparently

Paul Aiton in action for Papua New Guinea (Fox Sports)PHIL FITZPATRICK

I HAVE never really understood sport, especially the organised kind like football and cricket. It all seems a bit silly and frivolous.

And yet millions, maybe billions, of people swear by it and can get quite emotional, even violent, about a game.

Papua New Guinea’s obsession with rugby is a good example. There are apparently several forms of rugby and I’m not sure which one prevails there or what the differences are. Anyway, people in PNG have died arguing about whichever one it is.

Continue reading "Sport is just not me, but other people love it apparently" »

‘Demigod’ Mal Meninga explains why he quit the Kumuls

Mal MeningaSTEVE MASCORD | Fairfax Media | Edited extracts

MAL Meninga has broken his silence on allegations he callously walked out on Papua New Guinea mid-contract to take the Australian coaching job, saying, "I just didn't get paid".

The fact Meninga beat Wayne Bennett to the Australian post wasn't the only controversial aspect of the appointment.

At the time he was offered the job, the former Australia captain already had a Test coaching position – in a country where he is considered a demigod.

Continue reading "‘Demigod’ Mal Meninga explains why he quit the Kumuls" »

State of Origin fanatics, this is your poem

State of Origin face paintingJIMMY AWAGL

An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

PNG fanatics are mounting for Origin
Their agenda is focussed on Origin
Their emotions, desires, confidence
Resources, time and effort, all

Bragging about Blues or Maroons
To the climax of the day’s celebration
Face painting Blues or Maroons
Flag raising Blues or Maroons

Continue reading "State of Origin fanatics, this is your poem" »

'Racist' Australian commentators need pronunciation training

Captains of PNG, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji at the Pacific Test (National Rugby League)KORO VAKA'UTA | Radio New Zealand International

ACCUSATIONS of racism have been made amid complaints about commentators not pronouncing Pasifika names correctly at the recent Pacific Island Rugby League Internationals in Sydney.

The apparently poor and insensitive commentary prompted New Zealand's Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA), an association of Pasifika media owners and operators, to lodge a complaint with the broadcaster, Australia's Fox Sports.

"They were just butchering the names and even laughing at some of it as they were saying it," said Will 'Ilolahia, PIMA's chair.

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Kumuls down Fiji in epic rugby league international

Nene Macdonald of Papua New Guinea celebrates with team mates after scoring a try (Getty Images)PETER KRANZ

IN A thrilling rugby league test match the Papua New Guinea Kumuls beat Fiji 24-22 at Parramatta stadium in Sydney last night.

The crowd nearly blew the stands down with their enthusiasm and half the PNG expats in NSW must have been present (including Rose Kranz from whom I expect a full match report later in the day).

The win was the Kumuls' first on foreign soil since beating France 23-20 win in Paris during the 2000 World Cup.

Papua New Guinea, whose side was dominated by players from the PNG Hunters team in the Queensland Cup, got off to a good start when halfback Watson Boas scored in the fifth minute and his brother Ase, Kumuls’ five-eighth, converted.

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Darwin mourns loss of Arafura Games instigator Peter Ritchie

Peter Ritchie with granddaughter GeorgiaGREY MORRIS | Northern Territory News

THE man who pioneered the Arafura Games, Peter Ritchie, has died in Darwin of a heart attack, aged 62.

He brought the Arafura Games to Darwin in 1992 and also made a big impression on the Northern Territory’s indigenous communities in his 51 years in the north country.

He worked at Borroloola and Katherine in the mid-1970s and was in the Gulf of Carpentaria town when the first land claims were made in 1976.

Mr Ritchie was appointed the first general manager of the Arafura Sports Festival (later known as the Arafura Games) in 1991 and was instrumental in its early success.

He not only engaged and gained the participation of countries such as the Philippines, Thailand and Papua New Guinea but also added places like Cambodia to the athletes roster after some careful negotiating.

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Looks like there will be a future for the NRL in PNG

Papua New Guinea HuntersMATT PRITCHARD | The Roar

ON the same weekend that Eden Park hosts the NRL Nines tournament, Penrith Panthers will send a team to Port Moresby to open Papua New Guinea’s magnificent new stadium.

The National Football Stadium will host Intrust Super Cup team Papua New Guinea Hunters on a permanent basis this year after they played out of Kokopo while waiting for the venue to be completed.

It’s likely that 15,000 diehard Papua New Guinean rugby league fans will pack the stadium for the friendly game to be played next Saturday.

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FIFA to punish PNG football for Olympic playoff no-show

PNG women footballers (RNZI)USA TODAY

World football controlling body FIFA has opened a disciplinary case against the Papua New Guinea soccer federation whose women's team failed to travel to New Zealand for an Olympic qualifying playoff scheduled for yesterday.

The incident is embarrassing for FIFA vice president David Chung, who leads the Papua New Guinea soccer federation and the Oceania confederation.

Papua New Guinea lost 7-1 in the first leg at home on Saturday.

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PNG’s innovative surf management plan hailed a success

Pic by surfertodayKEITH JACKSON

PAPUA New Guinea is putting its surf management plan into operation. The good news is that it works, reports the Surfer Today website.

PNG has developed a rulebook to minimise the impact of surf tourism on the fragile ecosystem, on local communities and on the quality of the surfing experience.

"PNG is a land of contrasts, transparent blue waters, ancient traditions, and multiple isolated islands," reports Surfer Today, adding that it's important to keep it alive, healthy, and natural. Couldn't agree more

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On basketball, classic guitar & the Public Service Commission


PLAYING basketball had been the central feature of my high school days.

While neither tall nor particularly fleet of foot, I possessed good hand-eye coordination and peripheral vision.

Countless hours of practice gave me half-decent jump and long shots and constant membership of high school, city and regional representative teams as a playmaker-guard.

By 1966 I was in Papua New Guinea and, with the aid of some cases of SP as gris, a few fellow basketball enthusiasts and I persuaded the Public Works Department to lay some tarmac.

Then Elcom, through their largely Manus Island apprentices, installed the hoops on their pylons and provided suitable lighting in the Wewak local officer compound.

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PNG Hunters establish relationship with Brisbane Broncos

Timothy Lomai - QRL Intrust Super Cup -  Norths Devils V PNG Hunters at Bishop Park, NundahPACIFIC BEAT | Radio Australia

PAPUA New Guinea rugby league team, the Hunters, has forged a partnership with leading NRL team, the Brisbane Broncos, as they continue their build-up to the 2016 season.

As part of the deal, Hunters' coach Michael Marum will spend a week in January being mentored by NRL premiership coach Wayne Bennett.

Former PNG Kumuls coach, Bob Bennett, told Radio Australia that his brother was happy to host the PNG Hunters coach.

"It will just be Wayne's normal training week and Michael will hang around with him and see how it's done and the professionalism that Michael's got in place [in PNG]," Bennett said.

"He's going to come down to the Broncos and see what they do, the facilities, giving him some ideas, and just see where they go from there.

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Mal Meninga caught in legal fight over PNG coaching role

'Big' Mal Meninga - PNG legendTYSON OTTO | | Extract

RUGBY league legend Mal Meninga has been swept up into a bizarre legal stoush that’s broken out between feuding officials in Papua New Guinean rugby league.

Meninga amicably parted company with the PNG Rugby League last week to take up a new role as Australian coach, and does not suggest he has acted improperly.

However, the 55-year-old looks set to be named first defendant in a legal stoush, with the CEO of a Papua New Guinea league taking issue with the PNGRL’s management of the game in that country.

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An ode to David Beckham’s first game on seven continents

David Beckham with bilumRAYMOND SIGIMET

On 5 November, the famous English footballer, David Beckham, made Mount Hagen the first stop of his UNICEF Goodwill Match for Children - 7 Games in 7 Continents - tour. It was an honour for this prominent athlete, Kange David, to choose Papua New Guinea as the starting point in his goodwill mission covering Antarctica, Argentina, Djibouti, Nepal, the United States and finally Manchester, England.

A superstar in our midst
On a journey with a twist

The world did not expect
In the land of the unexpected

To see the legendary David Beckham
Play soccer with some Niugini chums

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Rugby league is an important educational tool in PNG

Adam Reynolds and David Nofoaluma (Daniel Potuku)TOM DECENT | Sydney Morning Herald

JOHNATHAN Thurston and Greg Inglis are helping educate schoolchildren in Papua New Guinea, even though they might not know it.

The popularity of rugby league is being used as a vehicle to teach PNG schoolchildren the importance of education and respect.

PNG is the only country in the world where rugby league is its national sport. The game plays such a big part in the lives of PNG children, who are not afforded the same benefits as kids the same age in Australia.

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Out-of-sorts PNG Hunters led themselves to league slaughter

Hunters in actionJOHN KAMASUA

THE game was a week ago – and I’m still hurting.

In a must-win match in the Intrust Super Cup – the Queensland-based rugby league competition in which they’d performed so well – the PNG Hunters failed to play their trademark winning brand of football.

Commenting on the loss, coach Michael Marum said the Hunters will learn from this experience and be better next year.

But on the day there was ample time for the Hunters to learn from the first half and resurrect their game in the second. They did not, and went down 12-28.

A grand final berth between the Hunters and the Townsville Blackhawks would have been a fitting 40th Independence gift for Papua New Guinea.

However in both semi-final games the Hunters led themselves to the slaughter.

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PNG & Ipswich entertainers meet in Intrust preliminary final


THE PNG Hunters and Ipswich Jets face off this afternoon for the right to face the Blackhawks in this year’s Intrust Super Cup rugby league grand final.

Townsville continued their impressive debut season when they secured a place in the grand final following a strong 26-12 win over the Hunters last weekend.

Today sees a battle of the entertainers with the trademark contact football style of play from the Jets going head-to-head with the equally exciting Hunters.

While some people question the ability of the Jets to win finals football with their high-risk, high-reward style – they have made it this far.

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Pacific Games over, Minister Tkatchenko announces venue plans

Taurama-Aquatic-Indoor-ComplexFIDELIS SUKINA

THE recent Pacific Games was a great success with Papua New Guinea topping the medal tally from defending champions New Caledonia and Tahiti in third place.

The success has been credited to the athletes and the Port Moresby high performance training centre and its coaches.

The government’s Go for Gold program produced results after its K4 million was spent training athletes overseas and at the high performance centre.

Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko praised the high performance centre and said the government will continue the program.

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Afghanistan beats PNG and qualifies for 2016 T20 World Cup

Afganistan on the way to victoryMIRWAIS ADEEL | Khaama Press

THE Papua New Guinea Barramundis national cricket team has been denied a place in the ICC Twenty20 world cup by Afghanistan.

Afghanistan defeated PNG in a qualifying play-off after PNG had seemed certain to qualify in earlier rounds, including a notable win over tournament favourites Ireland. 

The Papua New Guinea batsmen set a target of 128 runs from 20 overs after they won the toss and elected to bat first.

The Afghan batsmen chased lost just four wickets and chased down the runs with 10 balls remaining. Nawroz Mangal was highest scorer for Afghanistan with 65 runs from 56 balls.

The play-off against Papua New Guinea was the last chance for both teams to qualify for the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 World Cup 2016.

Incentives for athletes but what about the injustices of our country

Peter O'Neill (Post-Courier)GEORGE KUIAS

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has announced that athletes who did not win any medals during the 2015 Pacific Games will each receive K2,500 as an incentive for their efforts.

Well, I congratulate Mr O’Neill for the initiative and the plan to develop sports in Papua New Guinea. Through sport the government will be able to combat increasing crime.

But, before the honourable prime minister does this, could his government locate sporting facilities in every district of PNG down to village level so we can develop the best and most talented sport men and women to national and even international level?

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