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Updated: Apr 29

The 2024 Digicel ExxonMobil Cup Football Conference will see the 12 competing franchises come together over the next five days starting today, in Port Moresby.

The Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Competition (PNG NRLC) has specifically designed the conference to provide the clubs with the greatest opportunities to prepare for the season starting on 13 April.

The conference has three focus groups - the Franchise Managers, the Head Coaches and the Medical Trainers.

The Franchise Managers will have the opportunity to work directly with the PNG NRLC team in ensuring compliance and governance of their clubs is at the forefront of the collaborative approach to the season.

The 12 club Head Coaches will gain a thorough understanding on how the games are expected to be officiated. They will also be provided with practical sessions in analysing performances and developing session planning from Joe Grima who is the Manager for Coaching Development High Performance.

A real focus for the game is player safety, welfare and medical treatment. The Medical Trainers will receive education and training from Matthew Harrison from Australia whose organisation,

AFS Group, provides the identical training to the NRL. The candidates must successfully complete the two-day intense course to receive the first ever Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) recognised accreditation as a Sport Medical Trainer – Rugby League.

“The timing of this conference is important as it allows a greater opportunity in the early part of our preseason to work together closely with our clubs to lift standards in player's safety, governance, compliance, player development and coaching education in the continual pursuit to improve professionalism,” Mr Leith Isaac, General Manager of the PNG NRLC, said.

The Chief Executive Officer of PNGRFL, Mr Stanley Hondina, explained, ‘the game’s administration is committed to seeing those involved in Rugby League be given the best opportunity to grow and develop. It is our obligation to provide the tools, expertise and create the right environment for that and this conference is one example. We are utilising the leading experts from Australia and within our organisation to deliver ‘best practice’ supporting the delivery of one of the pillars of ‘Club Professionalism’ as captured in our PNG NRLC Strategic Plan.”

“Performance aspect of our game is the focus for this season as we strengthen the pathway/competition piece. We will focus on building good coaches, strength and conditioning and medical trainers who are to the prescribed international standards,” Hondina said.

The conference will run from Wednesday (today) beginning with the Franchise Managers, then followed by the Head Coaches and conclude with the Medical Trainers on Sunday.

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