It would be a huge development for rugby league in Papua New Guinea, with the country to know in 7 days, as to whether or not they will be hosting a team in the 2013 Queensland Cup.
â€œItâ€™s been a long and intense six month process but we are pretty confident, weâ€™re 80% confident of getting the nod,â€ PNG National Rugby League Bid chief executive officer Brad Tassell said.
It was a meeting with the QRL board in Melbourne last Tuesday, that has Tassell confident about PNG’s involvement in the competition – a meeting that drew a positive response from all other teams and members in the competition.
â€œItâ€™s been positive. They now go back to re-drawing and working towards accommodating an extra team in their schedule.
â€œItâ€™s an even 12-team competition at the moment, and the addition will obviously make it an uneven draw. They want to work around all areas to cover for the team.
â€œTheyâ€™ll meet again on the June 7, before any confirmation is made, so weâ€™re looking forward to it.â€
An inspection of Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby is likely to be a potential trip, the facility for all future PNG home games, should they get a team.
Should the PNG team enter the QLD Cup, the side will use all local talent from rugby league competitons and the Digicel Cup.
â€œThe team will be 100% local born and bred talent selected from all rugby league competitions, including the Digicel Cup, with consideration for players that have come through the junior programmes.
â€œA six month scouting period will commence as soon as we get the nod, from where a squad of 40 players will be picked by November.
â€œThis will be further trimmed to a 25-man full time squad, which will go into camp in January, and right through to the season, based out of Port Moresby,â€ Tassell said.
Peter O’Neill, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, has personally written to the QRL to seek the future entry of a PNG team, with the PNG government committing K1.5 million for the initial preparations and the program itself.
â€œThe team will be run as a full professional franchise, like the Australian NRL clubs,â€ Tassell said.