Broncos to play historic PNG trial game
The Brisbane Broncos will play a blockbuster historic trial against the PNG Hunters in Port Moresby next year as their last competitive hit-out before the Telstra Premiership kicks off.
The clash at PNG National Football Stadium on Saturday, February 24 will no doubt be before a sell-out crowd.
Rugby league is the national sport in Papua New Guinea and the nation hosted sold out crowds at the recent Rugby League World Cup.
The Hunters are also the defending Intrust Super Cup Queensland champions and the match will be an ideal way for them and the Broncos to fine-tune preparations before their respective seasons.
Broncos assistant coach Jason Demetriou said it was expected a full-strength squad would take the field leading into the club's season opener away to the St George Illawarra Dragons on March 8.
"It will be a great hit-out and will be our last trial before the season starts so we will hopefully have everybody who is available in round one ready to go and get some good minutes under their belt," he told NRL.com.
"It is a great trial to have especially in front of a big crowd of PNG people who will love having the Broncos in town.
"That will give our boys a big lift and get them excited for round one.
"The last few years we've gone to England as a team [for the World Club Series] and had a few days away together and prepared for our season.
"We don't want to have to go so far to keep doing that so to go over to PNG, keep the majority of the squad together and play a competitive game is a good way to lead in to the NRL season."
Broncos chief executive Paul White and Demetriou gave PNGRFL chief executive Reatau Rau and Hunters coach Michael Marum a tour of the club's new training and community facility on Thursday as they discussed the initiative.
Brisbane's visit will also include a host of community engagement opportunities for the local people to embrace.
White said the trial would be exciting for the club and the Papua New Guinean public.
"We know the Broncos have a massive supporter base in PNG and we are respectful of the fact that rugby league is the national sport in their country," he said.
"We are also proud that their national captain at the Rugby League World Cup, David Mead, plays for the Broncos.
"The Broncos are always mindful that our trial games are a way to give something back to the rugby league community and this trip to PNG will do just that.
"This will take the form of not only the game, but also events and activities that will involve the wider community."