Sport: PNG win inaugural rugby league nines championship
A young PNG team has won the Commonwealth Rugby League Nines Championship in Glasgow, in what is a test event for possible inclusion in future Commonwealth Games events.
The Papua New Guinea coach Dennis Miall says their victory in the Commonwealth Rugby
League Nines Championship is a big tick for the work being done at home at the grassroots level.
The PNG Under 19 team went through the tournament undefeated, beating Australia 22-8 in the final in Glasgow to secure the gold medal.
PNG Hunters player Stanton Albert was also named player of the tournament.
Dennis Miall told Vinnie Wylie their success is a reflection of the investment PNG is putting into players from a young age.
DENNIS MIALL: I'm very proud of the boys, of what the boys have done. We have not had any nines competition in the country except for the final trials that we had. There were 60 boys who attended the trial and from those 60 boys only 15 were selected for this national championship.
VINNIE WYLIE: Did you go into this tournament believing you could win?
DM: We had the belief, the faith, in our boys and [when] we were were running them through their training drills and through the training camp, they accomplished what was set for them and they performed the training sessions to their best and we had confidence that we could do better.
VW: What was the standard like? I understand the Australian team are based in Sydney and all their players are contracted to the Roosters [NRL team] so effectively professional or pretty much professional players.
DM: Australia was our biggest threat, our biggest challenge. We had confidence that we would make it through our pool and be in the top two teams in the pool to meet maybe Australia and the other teams in the other pool, after what they've been through in the schoolboys programme back in PNG.
VW: I know you've had a lot to do with the schoolboys up in PNG, in terms of that programme and I know there's been a lot of work done, especially in the last few years, so I guess this is a real tick for that programme and what's been done at the grassroots level.
DM: Yes it is. After putting through this training programme it is more or less a check to see how far we have come and where our weaknesses are and where our strengths are. We thought we would use this to match ourselves with other international teams and to see where the strength of our competition is.
VW: And this rugby league nines concept is becoming bigger at NRL level and it is going to be at the Pacific Games next year in Papua New Guinea. It could be a part of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast [in 2018] - do you think it would be a good for that tournament?
DM: That will be possible. I think nines should be more better in the Commonwealth Games. It's open and it's free football and every player can have the chance to expose their abilities and talents. As with our boys, I think they perform better in the nines than in the normal 13-a-side. From my view the championship was a success; to see different countries around the world from Jamaica to South Africa, Papua New Guinea and European countries - the interest is there and we hope that the nines will be included in the next Commonwealth Games.
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