16 Jan 2015

Sport: Meninga backing PNG to improve

11:35 am on 16 January 2015

Papua New Guinea coach Mal Meninga says the growing tide of top players heading offshore is evidence the country's rugby league resurgance is gaining momentum.

PNG Hunters duo Wartovo Puara and Thompson Teteh are currently on trial with NRL champions South Sydney after impressing in the Queensland Cup last year, while Stanton Albert has joined his brother Wellington at the Penrith Panthers.

The Kumuls team also returned to winning ways against Tonga last year, after a winless World Cup campaign in 2013.

Mal Meninga says things are on the up.

"They're starting to get a bit of international experience, playing in tougher competitions week-in, week out. The travel obviously of that, as well, is a challenge. In three years time I'm very confident that we will have a number of Papua New Guinea players play in the National Rugby League - it's starting to happen already - [and] play in the UK Super League [and] obviously playing in the Queensland Cup as well so we're going to be certainly at a better standard and very competitive, I believe, down the track".