From soccer to rugby

Her pastime was playing soccer but surprisingly, she made it into the PNG team for the FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup 2016.

This time around, Martha Karl is all set to live her dream when she dons the red, black and gold colours for the PNG women’s rugby league team at this year’s world cup in Sydney, Australia.

The shy Northern zone selected player has had world cup experience in football and now a different ball game in rugby league. Karl played rugby league for the 14 B Pirates in Lae and took up soccer as a way of keeping herself busy.

She never thought she would make it into the FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup 2016 but she did.

After hearing about PNG’s plans to field a women’s rugby league team in the WRLWC 2017, she knew this was her chance.

Karl had almost had to drop out of Lae Secondary School during her year 12 but thanks to PNG Football Association, she was able to complete her studies at Goroka Grammar while juggling training at the National Sports Institute.

The soft-spoken blond is currently upgrading her maths at the Department of Open and Distance Learning and has a simple message for younger girls who want to take up rugby league.

“Taim blo stadi yu stadi, taim blo treining yu treining,” she said. (When it’s study time, you study and when it’s time to train, you train.)

Sophie Yaruso