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NRL launches Pacific strategy

The NRL launched its Pacific Strategy aimed at strengthening Rugby League and building stronger business and community ties in the Pacific Islands.
NRL CEO, Dave Smith said the Pacific Islands – Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea – would play a crucial part in the game’s future.
And he said there was enormous potential to develop closer ties with government and business connections in the Pacific and build closer community relations through Rugby League.
Mr Smith will be joined by Roosters star Sonny Bill Williams and Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens in Samoa next week as part of the Pacific Strategy launch. Jarryd Hayne will visit Fiji with other NRL stars later this year to promote the strategy.
The visits will involve everything from meetings with government and business officials through to football clinics and education programs for children. Mr Smith said the Pacific Nations had the potential to become powerhouses of the game.
"The interest in our game in Samoa is incredible, especially now that they have qualified for the Four Nations tournament at the end of the year," he said.
"And, with the next World Cup in 2017, there is no reason one of the Pacific nations cannot make the finals of our biggest international event. "We saw Mal Meninga coaching the Papua New Guinea Kumuls for the last World Cup and we have seen the PNG Hunters perform incredibly well in the Queensland Cup. "So the game is on the rise in the Pacific and the timing is perfect to build our relationships on and off the field." Mr Smith said the Pacific Strategy would focus on:
  • Game development;
  • Player welfare;
  • Commercial and corporate opportunities;
  • Supporting education, social and community outcomes; and
  • Strengthening the Rugby League bodies in each nation to build the international game
Mr Smith said the NRL already had 12 staff in PNG who would teach life skills to about 50,000 students in 80 schools over the next three years.
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