by Lorraine Genia – EM TV Sports, Port Moresby
While the success of the SP PNG Hunters is unquestionable, the growth of the code and abundant talent here in the country has still yet to catch the eye of clubs within the National Rugby League (NRL).
Questions are now being raised as to why the PNGRFL have yet to secure a contract deal with the NRL.
Chief Executive Officer of the prestigious Ipatas Cup, Timothy Lepa, has called on the PNGRFL to perhaps look north and invest in other avenues, not just the Intrust Super Cup.
“More than K30 million has been spent on the SP PNG Hunters in the Intrust Super Cup in Queensland, and no player has been selected into NRL yet.
“The main goal was to sell players into the NRL market, not winning the Intrust Super Cup,” said Lepa.
However, last year SP Hunter Gary Lo earned a contract with English club, Gateshead Thunder, however that deal fell through with Lo returning to PNG shortly after due to personal reasons.
While many individuals have proven to be NRL worthy, Israel Eliab being the strongest candidates after being named five-eight of the year for the Intrust Super Cup, questions still linger as to when a player will have the chance to take the next step.