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NRL, ADF take virtual coaching to Tonga

The NRL has teamed up with Asia Pacific Rugby League and the Australian Defence Force to take a virtual training program to Tonga, with sessions covering coaching, refereeing, nutrition, first aid, CPR and strength and conditioning.

More than 70 players, coaches and officials officials from the Tongan communities of Tongatapu, Ha'apai and Vava'u have participated in the five-day program, running from August 16 to 20.

"An increase in trained coaches will create positive role models and give Tongan participants the best chance to be exposed to the game and experience the many social and health benefits," NRL Pacific Program Manager Michael Asensio said.

"We're incredibly proud of the important work of the men and women of the ADF and look forward to working together to achieve positive outcomes for Tongan communities."

Brigadier Phil Winter, director general of the Australian Defence Force Sports Cell, said the partnership with the NRL helped strengthen the relationship between Australia and its Pacific neighbours.

More than 70 players, coaches and officials officials from Tongan communities have participated in the five-day program.
More than 70 players, coaches and officials officials from Tongan communities have participated in the five-day program.

"The ADF has run two previous 'virtual' sports programs during COVID involving rugby league, conducted in Fiji and PNG," Winter said.

"Sport provides a 'universal language' and the virtual program for Tonga is designed to teach leadership, gender equality, respect, nutrition and healthy living.

"The virtual sports program also provides an opportunity to demonstrate the enduring ADF partnership with HMAF of Tonga, and reinforce shared values through sport."