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The PNG Orchids at Leichhardt Oval in June.

Behind the emotion of Papua New Guinea's inclusion for the 2017 women's Rugby League World Cup, a far greater story was being told.

Power Meri has taken the Pacific by storm after reaching Australian shores for screenings in March and will now premiere on NITV in Australia on September 23 at 7.30pm. 

The documentary will then be available on SBS catch up following the broadcast for 30 days.

The film captures the journey of Papua New Guinea's first national women's team, the Orchids, on route to the 2017 World Cup, and explores how rugby league is changing lives and mindsets in PNG.

Human rights organisations have described Australia's nearest neighbour as one of the worst places in the world to be a woman.

But where international observers see despair, the pioneering players of the country's newest team see opportunity.

Almost a year since the movie's release, Power Meri has received positive responses from current and former NRL players in the game, along with those with non-rugby league backgrounds. 

More than 400 people viewed the film at the International Oceania Film Festival in Tahiti, while the documentary has been used across NRL clubs and in schools throughout 2019. 

Organisers of the next World Cup in 2021 have also offered to support a release of the film across the UK.

The film's director Joanna Lester encouraged the public from all backgrounds and regardless of their rugby league knowledge to get to a screening.

Papua New Guinea fans.
Papua New Guinea fans.

Lester has spent more than a decade in the Pacific as a journalist and broadcaster.

"I've always wanted to work in rugby league and PNG because there was so much potential," Lester said.

"There are so many social issues that rugby league has a lot of power there to send a message. The film became something I felt like I had to do when it came clear PNG would have a women's team.

The PNG Orchids.
The PNG Orchids.

"It was produced to a high quality. In terms of the access to the team and willingness, it was absolutely wonderful.

"That was an opportunity to elevate a story on the impact women playing rugby league and the men and women around them. It was a combination of the social importance and the growing interest in women's sport."

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