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PNG boys and girls teams touring Australia - updated Jan 23rd

  • Sunday, January 22 2006 @ 12:38 am ACDT
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The AFLPNG will this year send three junior teams on tour to Australia, with a boys under 16s squad touring in April, an under 16s girls team playing in the North Queensland challenge in Cairns in October and some of the boys under 14s competing at the Queensland Country Championships in June.

As part of the selection process for the national teams, a week-long regional camp was held in Togoba, Western Highlands province for around forty local boys and girls. Run by regional AFL co-ordinator Moses Kar, the camp was also aimed at promoting Australian rules football in the rural areas of the Highlands provinces, where plans are under way to extend footy to Porgera in Enga and Kaupena in the Southern Highlands provinces.

The programme covered coaching and ball-handling skills for the young players, who were trained by national AFL talent and recruitment officer, Overa Gibson. During the camp, the juniors also took part in community work while night sessions were spent doing awareness on HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse - an area of integrated community learning for which the AFLPNG has been praised in the past.

AFLPNG's Oil Search Pathways program is the premier system in international footy for giving youngsters their best chance to make itto the AFL. At the under 18 level, the National Camp is being held this week and five players will be chosen to play for the under 18 Kookaburras in the Queensland Championships. Rick Hanlon from AFLQ Cairns will be in PNG assisting. In April younger boys will compete in the Under 16s Queensland Country Championships being staged in Cairns (in far north Queensland). And from the under 14s seven players will be selected, with one playing in each of the competing teams at the Under 14s Queensland Country Championships, held in June.

In what may be a first, AFLPNG is looking at sending a girls under 16s team to Australia. Details are not yet finalised but they may be playing in Cairns in October 2006, against a Cape Team, a Brisbane team and a Cairns Team, with a Darwin side also possible.

More information on the AFLPNG can be found at their website.