This ANZAC Day we're honoured to share this 2015 piece by Andrew Ferguson.
Honouring Stan Carpenter...
32 hours ago
Papua New Guinean rugby league officials have launched a campaign to have a team in Australia's National Rugby League competition by 2014.
The PNG Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) will start lobbying NRL officials in Sydney next month while attending the International Rugby League Board meeting.
PNG chairman Albert Veratau said they are talking with the Penrith Panthers to develop a serious proposal for the NRL.
Along with the NRL aspirations, PNGRFL will adopt NSW's junior rugby league development program.
"It's time for PNG in the NRL," he said.
"We want to make the numbers right and will be speaking to the NRL about the PNG club by 2014," he said.
Former Newcastle Knights winger (1989/90) and PNG chairman of selectors Arnold Kerwanty said a PNG club should first enter the Queensland Cup to prepare for the NRL challenge.
"We will need players who have the week-in week-out NRL game experience, or Queensland Cup experience, so they can become the backbone of a future competitive NRL club," he said.
Kerwanty added PNG rugby league was hurt by Australia's immigration laws.
"Laws need to be relaxed so PNG players don't require huge contracts to play for Aussie footy clubs," he said.
"If there are more players in NRL feeder clubs or just playing amateur footy at Australia's higher standard it will lift our game too, but immigration laws are preventing this," he said.
NRL spokesman John Brady said PNG's push was encouraging news but there was no immediate plan to expand.
"It's a case of watch this space.
"If they aim high, work hard and make a compelling case then it doesn't mean it's out of the question.
"The passion exists, everybody is aware how fanatical PNG is for rugby league and they are on our doorstep, so of course we want to support that,' he said.
Rugby league is considered PNG's national game with a strong following of the NRL and local SP Cup.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, during his State visit to PNG last month, gave $250,000 to develop sport, in particular rugby league.
Marcus Bei, Adrian Lam, the current national coach, are PNG's most famous players while Paul Aiton and Keith Peters, playing for Penrith club, are other notable PNG footy heroes.