Papua New Guinea NRL Team is Finally Happening

Ben H 14 June 2024Last Updated: 14 June 2024

News Article Summary

In Short

  • The NRL is working with the Australian Federal Government to secure a deal that would see a new NRL team that would be based in Papua New Guinea.
  • The deal in question could be worth anywhere up to $600 million in federal funding over the proceeding ten years.
  • The NRL is potentially looking to base the new team out of Port Moresby.

What’s Next?

  • Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape is pushing for the deal to be finalised by the end of 2024.
  • Even if a deal is finalised by 2025 there will not be a team until at least 2027.
  • Travel safety is a concern that needs to be addressed.


After many long awaited years a Papua New Guinea NRL team could finally be happening with the federal government in talks to secure a deal of up to $600 million dollars to get an additonal NRL team based in PNG rounding the list of teams up to an even 18.

Chairman of the NRL Peter V’landys has already met with the Minister for the Pacific Mr. Pat Conroy to discuss the deal whilst on the sidelines of the NRL Magic round to which Mr Conroy stated that everyone is aligned on finding a way to move forward with an expansion club from Papua New Guinea.

What is interesting is that the $600 million funding will just go solely to the new club but will also be funnelled into community outreach programs also, NRL is a cultural tie between Papua New Guinea and Australia and the incentive of bringing an NRL team to the country has huge tourism potentials for the country.

With Rugby League being the national sports of PNG there is no shortage of good players vying for the opportunity to play, and with the funding heading to the country there will be no limit of players hoping to grab a spot on the side.

Currently it is not all green pastures for ONG however, as the North Sydney Bears and Newtown Jets are looking to join forces for Western Australia’s bid to become the next NRL expansion side.

The ARL Commission will be aiming to finalise their plans on the morning of the State of Origin Game 2 in Melbourne on June 26th, putting pressure on PNG.

The Benefits of PNG

While travel safety may be a concern for Papua New Guinea given their recent civil unrest, Papua New Guinea is still without a doubt the more logical step, not only bringing another country into the mix that we work and have a close bond with, it will also strengthen our commitment to PNG and PNG’s commitment to us which will no doubt be be a political block on China and their push on the regions surrounding northern Queensland.

Sports diplomacy can be an extremely powerful tool with an NRL team serving as a commitment to Australia, and as a symbol of promoting goodwill whilst fostering a sense of commitment between the two nations.

In addition, the $600 million in funding will substantially improve their current sports infrastructure and local community facilities which when looking long term will benefit the future of the sport by assisting younger generations into the sport.

One key point that has until been dusted over is the regional stability that a successful sports team can bring to a country, by having a good Papua New Guinea NRL team playing internationally in both Australia and New Zealand will create a unified and positive focus for the community further reducing the chance for future civil unrest.

We don’t need another Australian team right now, with such close ties to Papua New Guinea it only makes sense to bring them into the folds and unify us closer than ever.

Ben H
Ben Harris is the Communications Manager for KRUZEY, an AFL and NRL expert, and writer. He has one daughter that he loves dearly and five... [Read full bio]

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