PNGRFL referees, James Kundi and Mekenzie Dokta departed for Australia on Sunday to officiate in the 2019 Confraternity Shield Carnival at The Waves Sports Complex in Bundaberg, Queensland.
PNGRFL CEO Reatau Rau said the two Digicel Cup referees were selected for the annual carnival as part of a capacity building and development pathway for referees.
“This is the result of the continued partnership between PNGRFL and the Australian NRL,” Rau said.
Kundi and Dokta are the second batch of referees to attend the annual carnival.
“Last year Max Topani and Hanua Rupa attended,” Rau said.
“Both have since been appointed as QRL match officials and now officiate in ISC matches.”
He said the Confraternity Shield is an elite Rugby League Carnival in which Independent Schools across Queensland are invited to attend.
“The week-long carnival is recognised as a breeding ground for the next generation of NRL stars,” Rau said.
Both men said the annual program was a good development pathway and thanked PNGRFL and the NRL for the initiative.
For Kundi, the trip abroad will be his first. He said he was looking forward to the experience and wanted to make the most out of it.
“It’s a new experience and a new chapter in refereeing in PNG,” Kundi said.
“We want to take on the challenge and be role models to young Papua New Guineans who want to take up refereeing.
“The experience will also help us to motivate others.”
Dokta said: “It’s a great pathway for the referees. This is not just for us now, but for others that will come along the way as well to take up the whistle.”
PNGRFL Board Chairman Sandis Tsaka congratulated both men and urged them to do their best and learn as much as they can.
“We want to improve the quality of the game in PNG and one way we can achieve that is by building capacity of our referees,” Tsaka said.
He said that PNGRFL worked closely with the NRL to put in place a development pathway for referees in the country.
“The opportunity for Kundi and Dokta to officiate at the Confraternity Shield Carnival was made possible through our partnership with the NRL.”
NRL in PNG General Manager Cathy Neap, said NRL was happy to assist in setting development pathways for referees in country and working closely with PNGRFL to achieve this.
“The NRL is proud to work alongside the PNGRFL to help identify and work toward building capacity,” Neap said.
“We hope the program provides more experience for Kundi and Dokta as it did for Topani and Rupa, adding value to the standard of the game in PNG.”
Kundi and Dokta return next Sunday.
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