The Papua New Guinea AFL Taskforce has met for the first time during a visit to PNG by the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles.
The meeting was jointly chaired by Mr Marles and the PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Ano Pala.
"We know PNG is a sports-loving nation and this Taskforce is an important step in the development of a game much loved in Australia but less developed in PNG," Mr Marles said.
The Taskforce has set a range of goals including code development, community assistance programming, an elite player pathway with an expanded Academy program and the possibility of a PNG representative team playing on a weekly basis in an Australian football competition.
About 27,000 young Papua New Guineans currently play in school-based AFL clinics and competitions. Nine PNG boys are on AFL scholarships signed to clubs including Carlton, Essendon and the Brisbane Lions.
Participating in the meeting were senior government and AFL representatives including Tony Woods, AFL International Development Manager and John Kali, Secretary of the PNG Department of Personnel Management.
"We hope to create greater opportunities for gifted players to represent PNG professionally at home and abroad," Mr Marles said.
The meeting opened with an exchange of AFL guernseys. Mr Marles presented Mr Pala with a Geelong jumper signed by the 2011 AFL Premiership side while Mr Pala presented Mr Marles with a signed Mosquitos guernsey.
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