Former NSW coach Phil Gould visits PNG - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Former NSW coach Phil Gould visits PNG

By Ilya Gridneff 21/06/2010 05:41:33 PM Comments (0)

Former NSW State of Origin coach Phil Gould has coached teams out of bear pits, lion's cages and numerous other sporting clichés, so how good will he go in the jungle of Papua New Guinea?

Gould arrived in Port Moresby on Monday afternoon for a two-day fact-finding mission on the chances of a PNG team one day entering Australia's NRL.

PNG NRL bid team general manager Bev Broughton and husband Paul Broughton, chairman of the Gold Coast Titans, along with PNG officials, hope Gould's footy gravitas can spread the good word down south.

In a country where rugby league is religion, PNG fans want a team in the NRL around 2015, a massive task considering the odds stacked against them.

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step," Gould told reporters.

"I don't think it's going to be easy and I don't think it's going to happen overnight but the country has to move forward and rugby league can be a big part of that," he said.

"It should be something that our code in Australia at least explores."

Queensland coach and former Australia great Mal Meninga is a supporter of the idea but, like many critics, suggests PNG first try the Queensland Cup.

Buoyed by a massive liquefied natural gas project that is hyped to double PNG's GDP, the government has committed 20.5m kina ($A8.2m) to the bid with most reserved for the necessity of a 30,000-seat stadium in Port Moresby.

PNG's sports minister, Philemon Embel, is on the record as saying "whatever the cost," the government will build the stadium as they are "100 per cent behind this NRL bid."

But many problems remains for PNG's NRL dream.

Earlier this month the national side's coach, Adrian Lam, broke ranks voicing disappointment at a continuing court battle over who is president of the PNG Rugby Football League.

These basic administration issues, along with a host of other realities, are what PNG hope Gould can tame.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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