By Ephata Samuel – EM TV, Sport
Three SP PNG Hunters players have taken up contracts with NRL clubs in Australia in the new year.
Wartovo Puara Junior and Thompson Teteh will both take up a six week train and trial contracts with reigning NRL premiers South Sydney Rabbitohs, while 19 year old Stanton Albert joins elder brother Wellington at the Penrith Panthers on a two year deal.
Their performances in the Intrust Super Cup in the Queensland competition this year caught the eyes of scouts from NRL clubs in Australia for an opportunity to play in the toughest rugby league competition in the world.
PNG Rugby Football League CEO, Brad Tassell was all smiles when making the announcement at a media conference in Port Moresby this morning.
He said it was an amazing effort by the young Hunters club to already start providing players to NRL clubs. He added that the SP PNG Hunters program which provided a pathway for its players was the envy of many NRL clubs and coaches.
Hunters head coach, Michael Marum said he was proud of the program which the benefits are being realized and had confidence in the three players to succeed in the NRL.
PNGRFL Chairman, Sandis Tsaka congratulated the players and urged them to give their best and continue to make PNG proud.
No financial arrangements were disclosed however PNGRFL have organised their visas while PNG’s Sport Minister, Justin Tkatchenko has granted K10,000 for each player to South Sydney, to cover some of their living costs for six weeks.
One clear message given to the two players heading to South Sydney was “do not come back after six weeks. Stay there as long as you can.”
The trio flew into Port Moresby from their Kokopo camp this morning with coach Marum for the announcement and returned late this afternoon.
The Hunters players currently in camp in Kokopo will go for a Christmas break on December 22.
Puara, Teteh and Albert will leave Port Moresby on January 2 for their NRL club commitments.