Jack Cogger and Jayden Okunbor have returned from an eye-opening visit to Papua New Guinea where they had the chance to build a community hall, visit local schools and be on hand to formally announce the Bulldogs and Sharks trial game in Port Moresby in February 2020.
The week-long trip also included former Bulldogs players Corey Payne, Reni Maitua, Corey Hughes and Daniel Holdsworth, as well as Cronulla Sharks players Sione Katoa and Ronaldo Mulitalo.
The players spent time at Tunnung Island where they helped in the construction of a new community hall, which will prove to be a huge asset as an essential facility for community meetings, religious services, emergency housing and education.
Tunnung Island is a three-hour banana boat ride from Kavieng township, isolated from the modern world with no internet and phone services, reliant on subsistence farming and fishing for the daily meals – though locally caught crayfish and fresh fish were not lost on the group!
The trip also saw the players visit three local schools at Meterankasing, Noipuas and Tsoi where the footballs got a workout with the students keen to showcase their touch footy skills. The students gathered to listen to the players stories of their careers, their educational pursuits and plans for the future in line with the League Bilong Laif program focusing on inclusion, respect and education.
After three days, the group returned from Tunnung Island to Kavieng and had the opportunity to visit the OLSH International School, Nehemiah Christian School and Nusa Island Elementary School. Both schools have had regular visits from the club in past years with Nehemiah buildings and uniforms decked out in blue and white colours to reflect their support for the Bulldogs.
Whilst the days were full of construction work and school visits the group had ample opportunity at the end of the day to get out to the exotic islands and spend time fishing, surfing and snorkelling in the crystal clear waters.
On return to Port Moresby the group were guests of the Australian High Commission, NRL and PNG NRL where the press were informed of the historic trial match between the Bulldogs and Sharks in Port Moresby in February 2020.
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs would like to thank the support of local businesses, Network Building Supplies, Dental on Evaline, Apprenticeship Careers Australia, All About Labour and CVA Construction for their contribution towards our community trip to Papua New Guinea.