A team from Papua New Guinea could be crowned winners of the newly-formed National Championship on NRL Grand Final day after their submission for inclusion into the Queensland Intrust Super Cup was formally accepted at a meeting of all 13 Intrust Super Cup clubs.
To play out of Kokopo north east of Port Moresby in the East New Britain islands, the PNG bid was required to meet strict criteria standards around facilities, security measures and the logistics of travel before it was accepted by the Queensland Rugby League.
The inclusion of a PNG team – whose colours and full name is still to be determined – in addition to the formation of the National Championship that will see the respective winners of the Intrust Super Cup and VB NSW Cup competitions face off on Grand Final day, opens the door for PNG to play on the NRL's greatest stage from 2014.
The PNG national team failed to record a win at Rugby League World Cup 2013 in their pool that included New Zealand, France and Samoa and QRL chief executive officer Robert Moore said their inclusion creates a new pathway for players from PNG to progress through to the NRL.
"It would be a wonderful story to see a home-grown PNG player rise from the junior ranks into the Intrust Super Cup and then the National Rugby League," Moore said.
"At the same time, it provides us with an opportunity to expand into a market with over seven million rugby league fans."
For full details of PNG's inclusion in the Intrust Super Cup and other key announcements visit qrl.com.au.