7 Nov 2012

Sport: Vanuatu league officials heartened by public response

11:18 am on 7 November 2012

The founder of Vanuatu's first rugby league body says he's been encouraged by the appetite locals have shown for the sport.

Dane Campbell is a former Newcastle Knight and says, upon finishing his playing career, he wanted to help extend the reach of international rugby league.

He first helped out in Jamaica before helping to establish Vanuatu Rugby League late last year.

The country played it's first ever international against Greece in Port Vila late last month and Campbell says while they didn't win, there were plenty of good signs.

"We were able to achieve near on 3000 people in attendance, on a very rainy day - and there was probably another thousand in the nearby trees and buildings and elevated roads. That shows us straight away that there is a calling for rugby league - people are interested in the concept and, because of the NRL getting streamed into Vanuatu, people are aware of the game but then seeing some of their stars in action, up close and personal. To be honest with you the game against Greece was a really competitive game and I thought the standard was very high."

Dane Campbell says the VRL's next major focus is developing a competitive team to take part at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.