Former Burleigh players Tala and Tomasi Kami have made ripples on the other side of the globe, winning the London 9s and highlighting their support of an independent West Papua nation.

Foundation players for the Wan Papua Warriors, a rugby league team that represents West Papua at a variety of international rugby league events, the Kami brothers joined forces with English club Wests Warriors for the London tournament.

In a jubilant performance, the Warriors went undefeated through six games and secured the final with a 12-4 win against Spartans.

Tala Kami, now a personal trainer in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea previously played with Burleigh, Logan Brothers and Easts Tigers in Queensland.

Brother Tomasi also featured for Burleigh and graduated from the Mountain Creek State High rugby league excellence program on the Sunshine Coast.

The pair, along with friend Edmund Tapo, formed the Wan Papua Warriors to further a cause close to their hearts.

"Through the power of rugby league we wish to promote the freedom of West Papua," Tala said.

"Whether or not West Papua becomes its own nation or part of PNG is secondary to gaining independence from Indonesia.

"We do consider West Papuans to be the same people with the same culture, languages and outlook as the remainder of PNG.

"The border between PNG and West Papua is an invisible line that was created by colonial powers and is outdated."

 

The Wan Papua Warriors arrived in London with a powerful mission; they were determined to win the London 9's to raise...

Posted by Free West Papua Campaign on Tuesday, 24 July 2018

West Papua – or Irian Jaya – is the western half of the island that sits to the north of Australia, commonly known under the collective term New Guinea.

PNG represents the eastern side of the island.

West Papua has been under Indonesian control since 1962 following conflict between Indonesia and former colonial power, The Netherlands.

*Main image courtesy of Rugby League Nines.