Sport: PNG Hunters believe they could hold their own in NRL

2:04 pm on 28 September 2017

The Papua New Guinea Hunters believe they have what it takes to be competitive in the National Rugby League.

The Hunters won the Queensland Cup Grand Final at the weekend, having finished the regular season as minor premiers.

The PNG Hunters celebrate winning the Intrust Super Cup.

The PNG Hunters celebrate winning the Intrust Super Cup. Photo: Courtesy of

Commentator and former Newcastle Knights, New South Wales and Australia five eighth Matthew Johns said last week the NRL should ignore the likes of Perth and Adelaide and target Papua New Guinea as the next location for expansion.

Hunters coach Michael Marum said his side would be more than competitive.

"We've not got these facilities, we now play in this sort of level so I think we can match it with the other teams in the competition," he said.

"NRL's a really tough competition so if we can probably - that's what we're looking for probably down the track another five years, four years.

"But our focus now is we've got the facilities here, how we can defend it (the Queensland Cup) again next year and keep producing good players".

PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum.

PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum. Photo: RNZI / Melvin Levongo

The Hunters recovered from a ten point half-time deficit to beat Sunshine Coast 12-10 in Sunday's grand final at Suncorp Stadium.

Falcons chairman Ashley Robinson admitted he wasn't in favour of the Hunters joining the competition four years ago but said, apart from his own club, they were now his favourite team.

"They have brought so much to the competition and I was so wrong when I questioned the decision," he said.

"They bring passion, they bring people and the way they play the game and yeah they're physical...but there's no foul play.

"They just play the game because they love the game and I think it's brought an amazing amount of different things to the competition".

The PNG Hunters squad pose with the Intrust Super Cup trophy in Port Moresby.

The PNG Hunters squad pose with the Intrust Super Cup trophy in Port Moresby. Photo: RNZI/Melvin Levongo

Ashley Robinson said it was high time the powers that be seriously consider expanding the NRL into the Pacific Islands.

"If I wasn't a bottom-feeder in rugby league and I was at the ARL Commission or NRL I'd definitely support that next step for the Hunters in the next few years because the NRL/ARL need to have a good, hard look at the Pacific Islands and go, "well that's where our future is, that's definitely where our future is".

"Yeah I think it would be a great idea".

The PNG Hunters have the chance to add another trophy to their collection on Sunday when they face New South Wales Cup holders Penrith Panthers in the NRL State Championship, as part of the NRL Grand Final day at ANZ Stadium.