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WHEN hes not working on his plans to prepare the Queensland Maroons for another State of Origin campaign, Mal Meninga is the coaching director for Papua New Guinea so he knows all about passionate rugby league fans.

Meninga welcomed todays news confirming the entry of a PNG team into the Intrust Super Cup competition next season, saying it would further develop the sport in the country.

(Its) fantastic news, Meninga said. Its really important for them; really important as far as their development in rugby league.

It gives them great pathways for young kids to aspire to, to play in the Intrust Super Cup.

Its essential for them; they need that week-in, week-out footy to improve their standards up there.

Most rugby league fans have a good understanding of the passion the PNG people feel for the game and as such, their inclusion has been universally acknowledged as a great thing for the game.

Their step up into what many observers call the countrys premier second-tier however will be a learning curve for those involved but as Meninga pointed out it will also help strengthen the game in the region.

There are some talented football players up there (and) as everyone knows they are really passionate about the game they just need to be educated more about the little things that make up a footy game, he said.

This is a major coup for Papua New Guinea rugby league, and to play in that competition is going to be good for them.

While he wont have a hands-on role with the club Meninga will be keenly watching the progress and will take on a mentoring position with the team and is looking forward to seeing what they can do on the field.

Its going to be great, Meninga said.

I will have a mentoring, sort of overseeing role with the team and will probably get to see them play a little bit when they get to Australia, so I am looking forward to their entry into the Cup.

I think they will be strong; personally I think they will be strong once they get used to the week-in, week-out.

See the full QRL TV interview with Mal Meninga under Related Items.
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