Matches at home to boost PNG rugby league bid


Papua New Guinea National Rugby League (NRL) Bid 2025 chief executive Andrew Hill says more SP Hunters home games at the National Football Stadium will help the country’s cause.

He said after the Hunters’ 30-28 homecoming win over Mackay Cutters last month that a compelling case was crucial for the Australian Rugby League to consider PNG for an 18th team by 2025.

Hill said the Hunters playing home games in Port Moresby over the next two Hostplus Cup seasons would be important.

“We had two board meetings,” he said.

“There is still a long way to go.

“Coming here and seeing the passion of the supporters in the Hunters’ homecoming game only shows that we have to bring a lot of NRL content up here.

“I want to thank Prime Minister James Marape and the people of PNG.

“We know that PNG is important for rugby league and rugby league is important for PNG.

“We saw that in the last 48 hours, the Australian prime minister and PNG prime minister got involved to get the Cutters to Port Moresby.

“We just have to find a way to bring NRL games here. Keeping the Hunters here is not only important for Digicel Cup and local leagues here, but it is crucial to the bid.

“We have to show the rugby league population in Australia, New Zealand and around the world how good PNG can be.

“We have met with (NRL chief executive) Andrew Abdo and he has confirmed that the NRL wants an 18th team.

“We have couple of years to go, so we have to get everything done by 2025. We may not enter the competition in 2025, but we may join a few years after.

“But by 2025, we have to make a compelling case to the Australian Rugby League Commission.” Hill said he would return to Port Moresby next month to help finalise World Cup preparations for the PNG Kumuls and Orchids, who would be travelling to England in October.