Dazzling welcome for PNG Orchids

You often miss history when it happens around you. There's only one first time.

The words from Rugby League World Cup chief operating officer, Maria Sykes, rang true with the Oil Search PNG Orchids at the dazzling launch of the women's Rugby League World Cup in Sydney.

PNG’s first-ever women’s rugby league world cup team in history, the PNG Orchids, were given a spectacular welcome inside and outside the Opera House, thanks to major sponsors Oil Search and Switzer.

The event included a boat on the harbour with the team name and an amazing function in honour of the Oil Search PNG Orchids, with inspiring speakers including Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and PNG skipper Cathy Neap.

The Oil Search PNG Orchids left PNG shores on Monday and received their full playing gear ahead of their first match against England today in Sydney.

The team was welcomed by Oil Search managing director Peter Botten, who presented their uniform kits at their company’s corporate office in Sydney.

Neap said the team was grateful for the support from Oil Search because rugby league has opened doors for them.

She said many of the players came from challenging backgrounds and have been working together. Rugby league is one avenue that was providing them that opportunity to make a positive difference in their communities.

With the support of the New South Wales Government, Southern Cross Group Stadium in Cronulla (Sydney) will host the pool stages and semi-finals over four match days from 16 – 26 November 2017.

The final will be held as a double-header with the men’s final at Brisbane Stadium on Saturday, 2 December, 2017.

(The PNG Orchids in front of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge)

Sophie Yaruso