Sport: PNG Orchids planning for the future

2:41 pm on 2 November 2018

The Papua New Guinea women's rugby league team have a five year plan to keep growing on the international stage.

The Orchids played their first ever test against Australia little over a year ago and were outclassed 40-4 in a rematch against the Jillaroos in Port Moresby last month.

Australia proved too strong for the Orchids in Port Moresby.

Australia proved too strong for the Orchids in Port Moresby. Photo: PNG Orchids

Head coach David Westley was proud of their efforts on defence against the world champions and said the team is already looking to the future.

"We've got a five year plan. There's a few games, probably two or three games every year," he said.

"There's a lot of grassroots stuff - a lot of development through schools and schoolgirls and a few camps as well so for us it's not only looking to play the games at the top but actually looking at some younger players coming through.

"There will be a fair bit of scouting as well. I know there's starting to be an influx of names coming through in Australia, a lot of good young talent, and certainly there's a lot of raw talent here as well."

PNG Orchids head coach David Westley (2L).

PNG Orchids head coach David Westley (2L). Photo: PNG Orchids

Papua New Guinea centre Amelia Kuk was a part of the Brisbane Broncos team that won the inaugural NRL Women's Premiership earlier this year and Westley - a former Canberra Raiders, Parramatta Eels and Northern Eagles player - is hopeful more PNG players will be offered contracts in 2019.

"We've got (former Australia representative) Jennie-Sue (Hoepper) that's looking to pick up an NRL contract - she lives in Townsville so she's very keen," he said.

"We've got Therese Aiton that lives in Brisbane - she also wants to pick up an NRL contract, hopefully for the Brisbane Broncos. From our squad here (in PNG) we've got maybe three of four players that can certainly go down south and trial and certainly can make NRL teams."

PNG Orchids captain Jennie-Sue Hoepper.

PNG Orchids captain Jennie-Sue Hoepper. Photo: PNG Orchids

The Orchids were beaten 48-14 by the Brisbane Broncos in a trial match in September and David Westley said the team showed big improvement when they took on Australia.

"We only had one try come up the middle and that was just from a couple of sets put on us but most of the tries were scored out wide so defensively we were really good around the middle and that was from a lot of work in our marker work and keeping tight around the ruck," he said.

"Our wingers and centres have still got a lot of work to do - when the ball goes past a certain player they've still yet to learn to keep moving in that direction...but certainly a lot of positives."

"Everything from marker work, the way we make tackles and the way we read plays - everyone's starting to learn that side of the game.

"In Australia they've got established competitions and most of those girls play from a young age where we're a nation that is just starting on that side of it.

"When we come into camp it's a lot different from the Jillaroos coming into camp - they're pretty much established players already that can fit in certain positions."

The PNG Orchids team that faced Australia.

The PNG Orchids team that faced Australia. Photo: PNG Orchids

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs