Lihir girls eye rugby league

An annual Rugby League Gala Day in New Ireland has created a new wave for girls across Lihir to surf on, giving them the opportunity to break into a sport that was once dominated by men and boys.

The event, facilitated by the Lihir International Primary School, attracted 11 teams across local schools last year, with an increased number of girls who participated under the girls division.

Kul Destiny Primary School girls coach, Rachel Daniel, who had participated with her girls’ team, said ‘women in rugby league’ in New Ireland was now growing rapidly, describing it as a ‘positive sign’.

“When we received the invitation to take part in the gala games last year, my female students all rushed to me giving their names to participate. They have performed extremely well and have shown great improvements on their rugby skills,” said Daniel.

“It is great to see that the number of Lihir women and girls in rugby league is rapidly growing, especially in a society where our local mentality leans towards the perception that women and girls are yam planters, carriers and housewives. This initiative presents an opportunity for our girls to embrace and showcase their talents.”

In thanking parents for their support towards the initiative, Blaise Pong, a Grade Eight student at LIPS, said it was important for guardians and parents to encourage their children to develop a healthy lifestyle through sport. He also urged his peers to start going to school and study hard to achieve their dreams in life.

LIPS Physical Education teacher, Angela Collins, said the event was staged to give children the opportunity to learn and have fun outside their classrooms.

“In 2017, the gala day had a rugby league clinic in the morning followed by games. This changed a little bit last year to attract and accommodate other schools on the island. Rob Anderson from Saint Mary’s College in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, was here to oversee and facilitate the clinic,” Collins said.

Some schools that took part in the tournament were Olekowa, Malie, Londolovit Urban and Senkunkun primary schools. The event aligns with Newcrest’s people pillar in creating a future in Lihir and PNG that is diverse, capable and engaged in delivering superior returns across all sectors.

Press release