A development studies researcher from Massey University in New Zealand says there is potential for rugby league in Papua New Guinea to become a success story.
Dr Rochelle Stewart-Withers is in Papua New Guinea studying how sporting success can help developing nations' economic and social well-being.
She says PNG is aiming to enter a team into Australasia's National Rugby League competition, which will bring many benefits.
"I suppose economic opportunities in terms of the country; by holding games here as well. By raising profiles of what's occurring in Papua New Guinea; by also being able to have a group of elite sports stars as well."
Dr Stewart-Withers says the government must get behind the investment in sport.