The Papua New Guinea Hunters coach, Matt Church, will return to Port Moresby next week to prepare for the team's relocation to Queensland for next season.
The PNG Rugby Football League Board approved the relocation, which also has the backing of the government, following advice from the Queensland Rugby League to ensure they remain in the competition. https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/429512/png-hunters-moving-to-australia-for-2021-season
Church said he understands there are some tough challenges ahead, but he supports the decision.
"Basically it came down to a choice I guess to do we want to compete or not. With the travel restrictions that are going to be in place, the only way we would compete is to relocate," he said.
"I know that it's going to be challenging for the group to be away from home for such a long period of time but we don't want to use that as an excuse. We want to make sure that we're going and we're making that sacrifice for all of PNG Rugby League and putting in our best efforts when we go."
Church last visited PNG in March and has remained at his home in Australia since the Queensland Cup was cancelled due to Covid-19.
Depite being out of country for the last eight months, he's managed to keep close tabs on the squad who have just finished playing in the Digicel Cup competition two weeks ago.
THE KROTON HELA WIGMEN ARE THE 2020 DIGICEL CUP CHAMPIONS!— PNG Rugby Football League (@PNGRFL_Official) October 18, 2020
Congratulations to the Hela Wigmen who defeated the Lae Snax Tigers Official 16-14 today at the Sir John Guise Stadium for the 2020 Digicel Cup Grand Final.#digicelcup #Digicel #pngnrlc #rugbyleague #papuanewguinea pic.twitter.com/E0VmlAXuKK
He said the team could relocate as early as January.
"I'll head back to start preparations and have meetings, but at the end of the month we'll start training for our pre-season and look to relocate late January next year."