It is a game that will give Legends of both rugby league in Papua New Guinea and Australian rugby league legends the chance to dust off the boots and play once more – as PNG announce their Legends side ahead of the November 18 clash against an Australian Legends side.
With the game to be played at Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby, it was two local politicians in Simbu Governor, Noah Kool and North Bougainville MP Lauta Atoi, who made the final decision on the make-up of the side.
Brad Tassell, who is the Bid Chief Executive Officer for the PNGNRFL, said that there were over two thousand votes submitted by the general public, as to who they would like to see in the Legends side.
â€œCongratulations to the players, coach and managers selected. It is an honour for them to be voted into the inaugural PNG legends team by the PNG public,” Tassell said.
â€œThis is their team, voted by them and we are looking forward to a really great weekend of Legends events, culminating in the match on Nov 18.”
With tickets for the match still available, Tassell knows that all the players involved are excited to be playing in this one-off game.
â€œI know the players selected are very excited and very proud to take part in the Ela Motors Legends of League,” Tassell said.
â€œThey are coming from all over PNG, Australia and the UK to take part.
â€œWeâ€™re now encouraging fans to get to the match and support their legends team, in what will be a really entertaining day of rugby league.”
Richard Wagambie and Kera Ngaffin, who were named in the top 25 in voting, will be the coach and manager of the PNG Legends side respectively.
The PNG side in full is: Dairi Kovae, Arnold Krewanty, Bal Numapo, Mea Morea, David Gomia, Stanley Gene, Adrian Lam (C), David Wesley, Michael Marum (VC), Raymond Karl, Arebo Taumaku, Bernard Waketsi, Nade Yer, Stanley Haru, Daroa Ben Moide, Tuksy Karu, Max Tiri, Noah Kool, Louta Atoi, Andrew Norman, Richard Wagambie (Coach), Kera Ngaffin (Manager) and Peter Barnanga (Assistant).
Brad Tassell said that another aim in bringing all of the PNG Legends team together to play, is to see them work together and create a positive growth for the game of rugby league in the country.
â€œThe players in the squad now have the opportunity to come together and support the improvement of rugby league in PNG. I think itâ€™s a great opportunity for the players to start to discuss forming an Old Boys Club or FOGS type concept (former Origin greats), similar to what is in place in Australia.
â€œWe would certainly support that type of initiative as it will have a positive effect on the game in PNG, with the former greats having a voice and an avenue to put back into the game they love.â€
There were some PNG greats unable to commit to the game, however, with Bruce Mamando, Marcus Bai, John Wilshere, Tom O’Reilly and Mark Mom, all engaged to prior commitments.