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June 23, 2021
Featured News Rugby League Sport

Church chosen for his experience and network of NRL coaches and players

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A lot of questions are being asked on why a national was not appointed as coach of the SP PNG Hunters – the simple answer is the level of qualification and the network our coaches have with other high level coaches in Australia is not up to par with the expatriate coaches who applied for the position. According to Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League Chairman, Sandis Tsaka, only three Papua New Guineans applied out of the 14 applicants for the coach’s position, with 11 applicants from Australia.
“We had 14 applicants 11 were non Papua New Guineans while three where Papua New Guineans, the short listing and review was not done by the PNGRFL Board, It was done by and independent panel, unfortunately the PNG Coaches that applied didn’t make the cut,” Tsaka said.

The only PNG coach to make it into the top three for consideration was Stanley Tepend, but the independent subcommittee which included Marcus Bai and Darryl Van De Velde, Director of State Wide Competitions for the QRL, gave preference to Matthew Church because of his high level of experience and his network of coaches and trainers at NRL level and QRL, which Tsaka added that his network can help grow the game in Papua New Guinea.
“One Papua New Guinean was part of the final three short listed but Matt stood out head and shoulders, because of what he has done at coaching in the elite level and the resources he brings to the Hunters in terms of networking,”Tsaka added.

Church is already pulling together his contact list which includes NRL and Intrust Super Cup coaches.
“On my network I have coaches with NRL clubs, whether it’s at head coach level or at assistant roles, I am looking to hopefully use those as an education tool for our staff if they can go down to Australia to improve their skills,” Matthew Church said.

It was unfortunate that Michael Marum had left after an extension to his contract for three more years; Tsaka says that hindered a succession plan for local coaches.
“We had a succession plan it was mapped out, when we appointed Michael Marum for a further three years, we could not complete the succession plan because he left just three months into his three year contract,” Tsaka added.

But Tsaka and the PNGRFL board has given Church 18 months for a succession plan going forward, with Tsaka’s main goal to get the Digicel Cup coaches to a Level Three NRL High performance coaching level, at the Moment the only Papua New Guinea with that qualification is Michael Marum.
“Before Matt Leaves in 18 months’ time, we would prefer that all our 10 Digicel Cup coaches have the Qualification, necessary to coach the Hunters, that should be the plan for PNGRFL, but in 18 months’ time if our Digicel Cup coaches don’t have an NRL level three high performance coaching certificate than the Chief Executive Officer and I have failed in our responsibilities,” Tsaka said.

By Fidelis Sukina – EMTV Sports, Port Moresby

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