PNG World Cup star Amelia Kuk will play against her Orchids team-mates in a trial before the Brisbane-Manly NRL match at Suncorp Stadium after signing with the Broncos for the upcoming NRL Holden Women’s Premiership.
The September 2 match against the Orchids will provide a final hit out for Brisbane’s star-studded women’s team ahead of the inaugural NRL women’s competition and was announced on Tuesday as part of a strategic partnership between the two organisations.
The Warriors women’s team will also play two trial matches against an Auckland representative outfit before the NRL club’s matches at Mt Smart Stadium against the Knights on August 10 and Raiders on August 25.
Kuk, who lives in Brisbane and played for Queensland in the historic Women’s State of Origin at North Sydney Oval on June 22, will become the first participant of the pathway program for Orchids players after being confirmed as the Broncos 21st recruit.
A nurse away from the field, Kuk suffered a MCL knee injury during a recent club game in Brisbane but was hopeful of a return in four weeks.
“I am thrilled to be able to wear the Brisbane Broncos colours and run out on Suncorp Stadium,” Kuk said.
The pathway program was made possible by Orchids sponsor Oil Search, who have made a commitment to promoting women’s empowerment through rugby league in PNG, and will enable players to access the Broncos coaching, nutrition and strength and conditioning programs.
“We have created a pathway for a select group of PNG Orchids to come and visit the Broncos and train with our NRL Women’s team, with the view to one day playing in the NRLW competition”, Brisbane NRL Women’s CEO Tain Drinkwater said.
Brisbane’s NRL Women's team will also participate in community visits throughout PNG and support PNGRFL and Oil Search in promoting key anti-domestic violence and women's empowerment.
The Broncos played a trial against the PNG Hunters before the start of the NRL season and a further match between the club’s women’s team and the Orchids will be played in Port Moresby in 2019.
“We saw the passion that PNG fans bring to the sport of rugby league when we visited in February and it will be great for our NRL Women’s team to experience this too,” Broncos CEO Paul White said.
“The day is shaping as an historic occasion for the Broncos. Not only will this be the first ever game for our NRL Women's team, we will also be farewelling one of our club greats, Sam Thaiday who will play his last ever home match at Suncorp Stadium.
"I would urge all the club’s fans to come out and attend both matches on Sunday 2 September, as it will be a day we fondly remember as a club for a long time to come.”
Brisbane's women's side, who have one spot left in their 22-player squad, will begin training together in a fortnight but will be without Jayme Fressard and Caitlin Moran (both knee) after both suffered season-ending injuries.