It was speculated for quite some time, and the move has now officially eventuated – with Canberra Raiders legend and current QLD State of Origin coach Mal Meninga officially joining the Papua New Guinean rugby league side as their Coaching Director of High Performance for five years.
Given the role with the aim of taking rugby league in PNG and the rugby league team itself to a whole new level, Meninga will aim to get the players to the level they need to be at to perform.
It was PNGRFL interim Chairman Don Fox who made the announcement official, with another significant step forward taken for rugby league in Papua New Guinea, with the first sponsorship installment of K2 million, the first of five installments.
The installments came after Minister Peter O’Neill promised and committed to the PNG rugby league clause, with a further four installments of the same amount to be made over the next 4 years.
With Meninga set to be the one who oversees it all, Adrian Lam will retain his position as head coach, both preparing for the Rugby League World Cup later this year.
The aim for PNG in this RLWC according to Fox, is to boost the country’s World Ranking and profile around the world, in a bid to successfully compete with the bigger nations on a regular basis.
â€œWe can no longer sit back and gather our players a week before international matches and expect them to perform without a regular full-time professional programme,” Fox said.
â€œAll of the top nations in the world have a high performance programme where players are gathered regularly in camps and their fitness, skills and physical development are monitored all year around.
â€œFor a nation whose sport is rugby league, our players deserve a full-time programme, training and tools to be competitive.