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PNG NRL Bid Academy makes progress

The Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Bid Academy, which was launched at the backend of 2023, is still making inroads to reach and expand into the rugby league playing regions around the country.


When the PNG NRL Bid Academy started last year, it was piloted in Port Moresby. A few months later in 2024, the program expanded and reached a couple of provinces, establishing six academies in those rugby league playing centres.


A total of 720 players (both male & female) have been scouted from the six provinces, such as Port Moresby, Central, Goroka, Lae, Rabaul, and Hagen to participate in the academy. The program focuses on school students, whose ages range from 15-19.


It will be an eighteen-week program rolled out this year. The program is currently in its tenth week and has eight more weeks to complete the year, endeavoring to cover more centres across the country.


PNG NRL Bid Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Hill, was impressed with the progress of the academy and emphasized on building a strong and robust system to nurture quality players in the country.


“I am really excited and pleased to report that twelve months later, we now have six academies across PNG. Of course, everyone knows the importance of player pathways and development – there’s not a club in the NRL that doesn’t have successful pathways – and it’s very important to have a development pathway,” Hill stressed.


Head of Elite Player Development, Joe Grima, gave a brief rundown on the program and what they had been doing so far in running the academy across the country.


“We ran a pilot program in Port Moresby last year and on the back of that success, we’ve expanded the program to six other provinces. It’s a fundamental training program, which captures the basic grip, carry, catch, pass. It’s an elitist program, not only looking after the things on the field but off the field as well,” Grima explained.


Meanwhile, the inaugural PNG NRL Bid National Championship will be hosted from July 21st to 22nd in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province.

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