PNGRFL Chairman Sandis Tsaka last week announced the Oil Search PNG Orchids squad for the Women’s Rugby League World Cup after it was finalised by coach Dennis Miall following their warm-up match in Innisfail, Australia.
The squad includes two names familiar to QRL fans with current Queensland Women’s Representative Amelia Kuk and former rep Jazmyn Taumafai (2015) making the cut.
Taumafai spoke to QRL Media following her selection.
“Making the PNG Orchids means that not only am I able to represent my family, friends and my country; I have an opportunity to show other PNG girls and women to follow their dreams whatever that may be,” she said.
She was looking forward to heading into camp, as it would be her first time going to her mother’s birthplace. Her family comes from small island named Samarai, Milne Bay.
Kuk, who was born in Mt Hagen, shared on her social media accounts that she was “lost for words” and she was “so honoured to get the call up to come and join the PNG Orchids to play in the World Cup”.
The Brothers Ipswich player – who has previously represented the Australia Jillaroos – is eligible to play for the Orchids as the Women’s Rugby League World Cup follows the same eligibility rules as the Men’s, with PNG considered a Second-Tier nation. Australia, New Zealand and England are First Tier.
“This is the first time our women's rugby league team will participate in a World Cup and we wish them all the best as they represent PNG,” Tsaka said when announcing the squad.
“We are grateful for the support from Oil Search Ltd who are the inaugural partners for this national side.
“Oil Search, as a proud PNG company, is pleased to be associated with the Orchids as they participate in the Women’s Rugby League World Cup for the first time," Oil Search Managing Director Peter Botten said.
The squad will assemble in Port Moresby next week to prepare for the Women’s Rugby League World Cup which kicks off in Sydney on November 16, 2017.
The 24-player Oil Search PNG Orchids squad (in alphabetical order):
1. Elvinah AARON - Southern
2. Helen ABAU - Southern
3. Delailah AHOSE - Southern
4. Della AUDAMA - Southern
5. Akosita BARU - Northern
6. Christie BULHAGE - Highlands
7. Brenda GORO - Southern
8. Carol HUMEU - Southern
9. Shirley JOE - Northern
10. Martha KARL - Northern
11. Gloria KAUPA - Highlands
12. Naomi KAUPA - Southern
13. Amelia KUK - Brisbane, Australia
14. Joan KUMAN - Southern
15. Grace MARK - Northern
16. Mala MARK - Highlands
17. Janet MICHAEL - Southern
18. Cathy NEAP (c) - Southern
19. Anne OIUFA - Highlands
20. Vanessa PALME - Southern
21. Fay SOGAVO - Highlands
22. Jazmyn TAUMAFAI - Brisbane, Australia
23. Vero WAULA - Southern
24. Maima WEI - Southern