One Tribe Challenge - Boomerangs fly in to Port Moresby

Thursday, March 12 2009 @ 10:55 pm ACDT

Contributed by: Rod Shaw

In an exciting development for reigning International Cup champions Papua New Guinea, they have just begun hosting a top class touring squad from Australia, their first such opportunity to see one of their representative squads play international competition on home soil.

Two youth matches will be played between PNG and potential future AFL champions from Australia, under the banner "One Tribe Challenge". An Australian indigenous youth team will take on the AFLPNG under 18 team nicknamed “Kupanda” (spear in the Melpa language of the Western Highlands Province of PNG). The Australian team, known as the “Flying Boomerangs” will play two matches in PNG with game one in Port Moresby at the UPNG oval on March 13 and game two at the Lae Show Ground on March 15. The Australian indigenous team is the same concept as the Boomerangs side that has played South Africa in the past, proving more than their match, and will be a wonderful test for the Papuan junior program.

The Australian side was picked from the AFL Kick Start Leadership Program for talented indigenous youth footballers. They will be coached by former North Melbourne Kangaroos champion player and Bali bombing survivor Jason McCartney as part of his position as an AFL youth and high performance co-ordinator. This is certainly a role in where he can inspire young and up-and-coming footballers to overcome some of the obstacles in their lives so they can fulfil their potential. McCartney also coached South Africa at the last International Cup. He will be accompanied by two other AFL “ambassadors’’ Kevin Sheedy and Michael Long who will attend a welcome dinner on Friday.

As many would know Sheedy has been a strong advocate of the game’s development and empowerment of indigenous youth and its expansion and development internationally.

Long is now the AFL’s indigenous programs manager. He is one of the most talented footballers to have played in the AFL and is respected as a footballer and a spokesman for Aboriginal people.

The “Kupanda” will be coached by former Richmond player Ray Hall. He retired last year from the Richmond Football Club where he played 100 games and is in PNG as a youth ambassador. Hall will be assisted by PNG Mosquitoes assistant coach Pepe Kila and Mt Hagen AFL talented youth coach and development officer Pint Kar.

AFLPNG national game development manager Walter Yangomina, a former national Mosquito representative himself, said “This will be a fantastic opportunity for AFLPNG as it shows the confidence shown by the AFL in us to host this international match”.

The tour is getting coverage in PNG papers, see Boomerangs arrive... and Tribal clash - Young native Aussies here for AFL clash, and some background on the Aussie indigenous side in Boomerangs ready to fly.

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