Genia, the name of a PNG Wallaby

KILROY Genia has defused troop uprisings, addressed the United Nations and gone toe-to-toe with the world’s top politicians.

So when it came to dispensing advice to his son Will about rugby, the words of an esteemed former Papua New Guinea minister were always going to hit the mark.

It was March of this year and rising Queensland halfback Genia had just been suspended for three Super 14 matches over a spear tackle.

“Coincidentally, I was in Sydney, and I told him call me up and let me know what the outcome is,” Genia Sr said yesterday.

“He rang me and I said: ‘Listen son, you can’t dwell on it.’ He said: ‘Dad, you don’t understand, I really want to play’.”

Having seen his second child’s standard reaction to getting out in backyard cricket growing up in Port Moresby – swipe the stumps and refuse to leave – Genia Sr knew home truths were required.

“I said: ‘That’s the point of a ban. You have to get angry with yourself. After that, it will make a better person out of you.’

“It has clearly worked for Will.”

The fatherly advice had dramatic results. Genia doubled his training efforts and tomorrow night – just five months later

– the 21-year-old will jog onto Suncorp Stadium for his run-on debut as a Wallaby. He will be only the second Papua New Guinean to do so (after Graeme Bond).

“The mother (Elizabeth) and I are very proud of him and very happy for him as well,” Genia Sr said.

“It goes back to him. As parents we have been advising and guiding him but he has a very good head on his shoulders and he is a very good listener.”

The whole six-member Genia “clan” will be in Brisbane tomorrow night to watch on; in a city many of the family now call home.

Will and brothers Frank and Nigel were all sent down from PNG to attend school there.

It was only in grade eight that Genia first played a team sport at Brisbane Boys College, having dedicated his Sundays to church with mum back in Port Moresby.

Genia’s boyhood idol was Steve Waugh and he tried to emulate the Aussie’s dogged refusal to protect his wicket.

“He is a person who doesn’t like to lose. In the backyard cricket, every time he is bowled out all the wickets go flying left, right and centre. ‘I am not gone!’,” Genia Sr laughs.

“That was in him as a kid. He is determined, and always wanting to win.”

Genia Sr’s career revolved around making good decisions under pressure. No more so than when as defence minister he helped settle peacefully a dispute with hundreds of armed PNG soldiers barricaded in their bases in 2001.

Playing sport may not be so serious, but Genia Sr says those genes can’t hurt.

“He has made some good decisions, so it is in the blood I suppose,” he said. After representing PNG in his career, Genia Sr says he has no problems with Will wearing Australia’s colours – for which he qualifies through his Aussie grandparents. “Either way it doesn’t matter. We are just proud that he is playing for Australia,” he said.

“We have no qualms, we’re just very proud.”

There was a time when the surname Genia was famous in PNG because of a well-known politician.

Kilroy Genia is delighted that’s all changed. Now it is the name of a PNG Wallaby.


5 thoughts on “Genia, the name of a PNG Wallaby

  1. Brilliant write up and what a moving and inspiring story. All best wishes for young Will and his Wallaby endeavours. Thanks Manu for this post – really enjoyed it! A proud moment for everyone who focuses on being the best that they can be and more.

  2. Thanks IslandMeri, the write up was actually emailed to me by a friend so not sure of the author.

    So Wil had his game tonight against the Springboks, the Wallabies ended up winning and Geni played a solid part in the only Tri-Nations win this year for the Wallabies. His attempted try showed allot of heart and I can see that he’s very much an attacking sort of player on the field. Genia definitely had an effect on the game as reported here:

    The Wallabies picked up their act, and the dramatic change had a lot to do with the vastly improved service provided by their new halfback, Will Genia.

    Genia provided good, fast service, compared to the erratic, looping passes of Luke Burgess, and it was soon clear that Wallabies five-eighth Matt Giteau felt far more comfortable with the extra space and timing. Suddenly he appeared far more assured.

    But I just want to say though that the whole standard of the game was atrocious. There were so many basic handling errors during the game that I thought I might be watching a Bava Park game here in Port Moresby. But again its a very young Wallabies team and I shall be patient.

    1. Thanks Manu. Whoever it is it is a great account and thanks for sharing the story. Love this kind of stuff. It warms the heart no matter where you are.

  3. IslandMeri, good to see that theres always someone there with empathy and moral support for Papua New Guinea’s trying to make a name for themselves, not only in PNG but abroad.

    I am ecstatic and happy for young Will for making it that far and at a very young age too, not only that, but also a Papua New Guinean and playing at the highest platform of professional rugby. All credit to the young bloke for building his career from such a young age, since his schooling days, and following his dreams through. This sterns from character and more so discipline (which is where most papua new guineans failure occur….with rugby that is). More to the point he is playing for and amongst and against some of the worlds bests. All credit to the young bloke and what a awesome debut (starting 15) and he definitely show more colours then Luke Burgess.

    Manu, the game was not atrocious it was level standard. And I don’t think comparing the game to a game from Bava Park could even compare…even a atrocious game played here at SunCorp could not compare (and will not compare in our life time, until we take out fingers out). The standard in Bava Park is atrocious, first and foremore there is no discipline and the standard of the games are appauling…even as far as the supporters are concern.

    I was thrilled to watched the game, no matter how atrocious it may be…the game was good cause Will was playing, and I am proud. He was playing for his passion, he was playing for his family, he was playing for the up and comings, I would like say he was playing for Papua New Guinea but that would spring up critics, but he played for himself which was really inspiring and exhilarating from where I was sitting.

    1. Thanks. I am 100% behind these kind of life achievements. I am always filled with pride to hear stories of other Papua New Guineans breaking barriers at every level nationally and internationally. By posting your brilliant write up on this blog I was able to follow. Let us know how our sportsmen and women are doing on overseas contracts. Anyone here in the UK? I only watched one game (on TV though) when Bai was here with Leeds but that’s about it. You hit the nail on the head! We need to push the thresholds which is almost always cultural limitations to be the best that we can be. Power to young Will!

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