The Albanese Government is partnering with the National Rugby League to establish the new Pacific Rugby League Championships.
The inaugural Pacific Championships will feature women’s and men’s teams from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Tonga.
The Government is committing $7 million over the next two years so that seven Pacific countries are included in the Championships and for games to be played in Papua New Guinea and Fiji as well as Australia and New Zealand.
The Pacific shares a passion for rugby league. These Championships recognise a desire from Pacific rugby league communities for increased elite-level competition, played in the Pacific, for Pacific audiences.
The competition builds on Australia’s long-standing support for developing sporting excellence in our region, particularly in rugby league, strengthening the Pacific family.
It will deliver high-performance pathways for Pacific athletes, coaches, referees and administrators, and continue to build the viability of sport in the region.
Games will be played in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea this year, with the 2023 tournament scheduled to take place from Saturday 14 October 2023 to Sunday5 November 2023.
Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia will co-host the tournament this year and Fiji will co-host the competition with Australia in 2024.
More information on the tournament, including the full match schedule, is available at National Rugby League.
Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese MP:
“The Pacific Championships mark the beginning of an exciting new phase of international rugby league competition in the Pacific for both women and men.
“Geography makes us neighbours, but through sport we build strong and lasting ties across the Pacific family.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy MP:
“Given around half the players in the NRL are of Pasifika heritage, and our shared love of sport, this Competition will bring people from across the Pacific even closer together.
“The Championships will provide a new opportunity for athletes in the Pacific to play and develop professionally, and will inspire a generation of girls and boys across our region.”
Quotes attributable to ARLC Commissioner Kate Jones:
“The Commission’s focus on growing the international game will combine with an equally strong desire to grow rugby league in the Pacific.
“Importantly, the international matches will be highlighted by both men’s and women’s matches.”