Papua New Guinea could be regarded as an area that is full of untapped potential and with the recent Rugby League World Cup, some of their players have been noticed – Albert Wellington being one – with the PNG international signing a 2-year deal with the Penrith Panthers.

Wellington was set to be a part of the Papua New Guinean side to play in the Intrust Super Cup but with news of his Panthers deal, he has been released from his PNG commitments in the QLD Cup, with his agent Steve Deacon believing the Panthers offer was the best for Wellington amid offers from rival NRL clubs.

“We and his family are exceptionally proud of Wellington and where he started 2 years ago when he was identified under the National Schoolboys program to where he is at now,” said PNGRFL CEO Brad Tassell.

“We firmly believe he has the attitude, commitment and talent to make it all the way to the top in the NRL, which obviously Penrith also believe.

“Wellington and Steve recently met with Phil Gould, Coach Ivan Cleary and the player welfare department at Penrith and were impressed by the structure they have in place to look after their young players and in particular a player in Wellington’s case.

Although PNG know that Wellington is not the finished product as a player, they know that he has the tools required to succeed in the NRL and the Holden Cup when given an opportunity.

“We are very excited for the young man and he is hopefully the first of many that will come through the program over the next few years and into the NRL,” said Tassell.

“You can’t tell me know that there won’t be thousands of young kids around the country who want to be the next Wellington Albert. The hard work for Wellington has only just started, he has a long way to go and has to keep improving and proving himself at every training session and every match.

“He has been given the pathway and opened the door, where he goes to from here is 100% up to him. I thank Phil and the Panthers for showing faith in the young man. The are getting a player of enormous potential and I have no doubt he will repay that faith tenfold back to the Panthers.”

Sandis Tsaka, the Deputy Chairman of the PNGRFL said that an experienced group of people around Wellington will provide for a successful transition to the club and first-grade rugby league.

“Wellington has received great advice every step of the way from staff who care about his welfare and ensuring he will be looked after,” said Tsaka.

“This is a new PNGRFL and a new direction we are chartering and is a massive achievement for not only Wellington, but also the game in PNG. It shows that what we have and are putting in place for the future is the right direction.”

The PNGRFL also hope that Wellington’s successful move to an NRL club will help pave the way for other Papua New Guinean players to do the same.

“I don’t think there has ever been a PNG player recruited direct from PNG to an NRL contract, who hasn’t played a game for any club in Australia,” said Tsaka.

“This is history for the code and we have no doubt Wellington will blaze a pathway for other young talented players to emulate what he has achieved to date. It is vitally important that Wellington is part of a family atmosphere at Penrith and he will be placed with the Horo family who live close to the playing and training venue.

“This will allow him to concentrate on his training and playing. He will also be put through and continue his schooling and/or tertiary education by the club, which again is very important to us and to Wellington and his family.”

Equally excited to give Wellington an opportunity is Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould, who knows that the talented youngster has untapped potential and ability.

“We look forward to assisting Wellington in developing both his rugby league career and his education through the University of Western Sydney,” said Gould.

“The signing of Wellington Albert also continues my own personal commitment to assist PNG in developing their Rugby League profile. With PNG players James Segeyaro and Junior Wari already in our system, I am hoping that in future more PNG players will look to develop their careers through the Panthers programs”.

By ricky

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.