Chairperson Ruth Waram voiced this sentiment during the announcement of the team on Friday.
Fifteen new faces have been named in the Oil Search PNG Orchids 20-player squad for the upcoming two Test series against the touring England women’s team to PNG in November.
The remaining five original members of Orchids are Elsie Albert, Carol Humeu, Shirley Joe, Roswita Kapo and Gloria Kaupa.
“I think we have combined a good mix of both the PNG-based players as well as a number of women who are playing in competitions in Australia,” Waram stated.
“So it’s good to bring that level of skill into our local girls and mixing them and they can learn from each other and off each other. That is about building this team going forward.
“And we’re looking forward to the women’s participation in the rugby league world cup in England in 2021. So the building of the team for that starts now and we’ll gradually consolidate that as we go towards 2021.”
PNG Rugby Football League CEO, Reatau Rau, said the physical characteristics of the England side was one of the factors that was taken into consideration when selecting Orchids players.
“If you’re going to have England girls who are bigger in forwards and all these, you’ve got to have some combination from our team that matches the opposition so there’s been a bit of thinking behind with coach Bagelo (Solien) and the selectors.”
Rau has further encouraged players who missed out in this year’s selection to persevere and work hard as the women’s game has grown and is gaining momentum at the national and international stage.
“We have to make sure that we always put the best team on game day against quality oppositions,” he said. “Gone are the days that we say ‘there should be equal whatever’. While we try to get as much from our regional teams, we also need to be aware that there’s much at stake at play that our girls need to play at the highest level.”
The Oil Search PNG Orchids play England in the first Test in Goroka on November 9, 2019, then a week later on November 16 in Port Moresby.
The 20-player squad (in alphabetical order is:
1. Elsie Albert - NGI
2. Lyna Allan (d) - Highlands
3. Tahina Booth (d) - NSW
4. Charity Emika (d) - Northern
5. Belinda Gwassumum (d) - Highlands
6. Carol Humeu - Southern
7. Shirley Joe - Northern
8. Janet Johns (d) - Southern
9. Erswin Kaiat (d) - NGI
10. Roswita Kapo - Southern
11. Gloria Kaupa - Southern
12. Lila Malabag (d) - Southern
13. Kia Henry Monaei (d) - Qld
14. Angelika Nanege (d) - Highlands
15. Elizabeth Paisoi (d) - Southern
16. Ura Ravu (d) - NSW
17. Seroge Sabume (d) - Highlands
18. Gemma Walker Schnaubelt (d) - Qld
19. Janaya Trapman (d) - NSW
20. Angela Watego (d) - Qld
*d - debut
Coach – Bagelo Ben Solien
The squad assembles in Port Moresby on Monday, October 28th.