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Friday, November 16 2018 @ 01:44 pm ACDT

Port Moresby competition off and kicking

Oceania

AFL PNG’s Port Moresby competition has just kicked off and to help with the commencement of the season AFL legendary coach David Parkin, along with former Carlton coach Wayne Brittain, current AFL National Coaching and Volunteers Manager Lawrie Woodman and former AFL Runner for Essendon and Carlton Peter Schokman are in PNG. This Saturday they feature as the major guests of AFLPNG at a fundraising dinner for AFLPNG Junior AFL, which oversees what we believe to be the biggest number of junior footy players outside of Australia.

Part of the reason the AFL identities are in town is to take up the daunting challenge of walking the Kokoda Track. Like the regular pilgrimage to Anzac Cove by many younger and older Australians as we explore our nationhood, in recent times the journey of the Kokoda Track has become something that many feel challenged to attempt. In conditions far less hospitable than those faced in Turkey, the adventurers challenge themselves, in what is said to be a very "tough ask", for a variety of reasons. Whether to explore their own understandings of Australian history, or to show respect to those who fought to stave off a major invasion of Australia, or to further understand PNG, a country that is foreign to their own yet whose history is intertwined with Australia as a result of fighting with and supporting our Diggers, the physical and mental challenge is huge regardless!

The bonus for AFLPNG of course is that due to the Kokoda Track drawing such esteemed names of our game it may, in various ways, help in the development of our code there. Lawrie Woodman, prior to the fundraising evening, was able to do some work with local coaches which will certainly be of tremendous benefit. The problem, of course, for coaches in the International scene is that you coach what you know, or what you learn from your opposition or from what you read. Therefore the chances to be “upskilled” by people who have far greater knowledge than this are few and far between.

PNG’s Port Moresby junior competitions kicked off last weekend with 52 teams from Under 12 to Under 18 playing. This would be unchallenged anywhere in the International scene for numbers and is but one competition within the nation. Of particular note is that over a dozen of these teams are girls’ sides, where the competition has particularly good numbers at Under 13 and Under 15 levels. Having a pathway through AFL Queensland for their best juniors, as reported previously on worldfootynews.com, the structures for football development which are always painstakingly implemented, are showing the fruit of the labour.

The senior competition in Port Moresby is also underway and the second placed West take on competition leaders Moresby at Colts ground on Saturday. West are aiming to beat Moresby which should see them share first place on the ladder. The earlier game will see Uni Bulldogs take on Gordon’s Kokofas which should see the Doggies maintain their wining run. However, the Kokofas’ youngsters are not to be underestimated as their form has improved since the start of the competition and they will give the Doggies a run for their money. KDC Dockers have a bye this weekend.

For more see: Top AFL duo ready to clash

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