The Queensland Rugby League has informed the PNG Hunters that their Hostplus Cup game against the Townsville Blackhawks in Port Moresby on August 13 will unfortunately not proceed as scheduled.
With the potential for further socio-political unrest in Papua New Guinea, the QRL sought expert advice ahead of the proposed Hunters’ homecoming match.
QRL chief executive officer Rohan Sawyer said that advice suggested the risk of travelling to PNG was high as a direct result of the recent elections.
“We’ve carefully considered all aspects of the situation and in the interests of the health and safety of the respective teams, we’ve made the decision to move the Round 18 match from Port Moresby to the Gold Coast,” Sawyer said.
“It’s important to note that this decision is for this game only, and we’re really hopeful the games that are scheduled to be played at the National Football Stadium in PNG later this month can proceed.”
Sawyer acknowledged the sacrifices made by the Hunters in recent years.
“The Hunters board and management have worked tirelessly throughout a two-and-a-half year relocation period to bring the team back to PNG for the first time since 2019,” Sawyer said.
“We feel for the players, management and staff, as well as the fans in PNG who were so eagerly awaiting the return of the Hunters and live Hostplus Cup rugby league next weekend.
“We’ll continue to monitor the situation and do everything possible to ensure the Hunters have the opportunity to get back home and play the game they love in front of their valued fans and sponsors.”