Chairman of the PNGRFL, Sandis Tsaka said Wani’s appointment to referee a Test match is a massive boost to the game development.
“This is a vote of confidence by the RLIF to the development of our game in PNG. It is a show of confidence in our standards and programs, especially the training and accreditation systems developed and established in partnership with the NRL and QRL over the past few years.
“We have been investing in our referees and coaches over the past several years and the fruits of this investment are showing with Paul’s appointment.”
Tsaka said the last PNG referee to officiate an international match was Graham Ainui. “
“That was 26 years ago. I congratulate Paul on this appointment and wish him the very best when he represents PNG in the centre in his debut Test match.”
RLIF International Development Manager, Tas Baitieri confirmed in an email to Tsaka that Wani would referee the Test.
“I have spoken to the Japan officials who were in Sydney for the Cabramatta 9s earlier this month and they have agreed to a neutral referee from PNG,” said Baitieri.
He said the two teams – Japan and Hong Kong – played last year in Hong Kong with Japan winning by two points and was officiated by an Australian referee,
Baitieri added that he was looking at supporting referees’ development and programs in other countries and saw Paul Wani as a suitable candidate from PNG after watching him at the 2015 Pacific Games.
Paul Wani was excited when told of this appointment.
“I am really happy and excited. I thank the PNGRFL for their continued development of referees and the RLIF for their support. I will give it my best for PNG.”