It’s Pauper New Guinea

Source:  Christian Nicolussi From: The Daily Telegraph  October 20, 2010 12:00AM

Source: The Daily Telegraph

THERE is a teacher who earns little more than $16,000 a year. A security guard who pockets $3500. A welder on $5000.

A tyre worker. A meat worker. And a group who happily help out with a cocoa exporting firm.

For many, coming to Australia for the Four Nations was their first time on a plane.

Meet the PNG Kumuls, who will live the football dream when they take on the $10 million Kangaroos this Sunday at Parramatta Stadium.

Farmer David Loko, who featured in The Daily Telegraph last Saturday, earns $850 a year. You could not wipe the smile off his face as he collected a $900 allowance for taking part in the tournament.

In contrast, each Kangaroos player stands to earn around $12,000 just for playing Papua New Guinea – a fee that outstrips what several Kumuls take home each year.

Several Kangaroos players would earn more than the entire 24-man Kumuls squad put together – just $670,000.

“But what you have to remember is a lot of these players own their land, land that is up to 10 and 20 hectares, and land they don’t pay tax on,” Papua New Guinea’s head of mission Gary Juffa said. “They can do whatever they want to that land, and a lot of them live off that land.”

There is extra incentive when the semi-professional Kumuls cross that white line and lock horns with Australia this weekend.

According to coach Stanley Gene, the Four Nations will prove a giant success if three or four players can secure a contract with a club in Australia and start a new life.

“During the World Cup in 2008, a lot of people were whingeing about why we were in the [best] group,” Gene said.

“But I told the boys there would be plenty of media focus on this group and what a great way for the guys to put themselves in the shop window and hopefully get scouted. There were three or four boys in the 2008 Cup whose lives have changed. Some of them have brought family over to Australia. Hopefully we’ll have three or four more after this tournament.”

Gene said a semi-professional competition back home had helped develop the game in recent years.

He also added that a lot of the current Kumuls players had never been on a plane, and it was not long ago the team had to be reminded it was essential – not optional – to use knives and forks while dining on tour.

Skipper Paul Aiton, who played this season at Cronulla, has been swept up by the joy of his lesser-name teammates.

“They’re living the dream. For most of them, it’s their first trip abroad and they’re playing their idols and heroes,”Aiton sad.

“But I think they’ll handle it fine. As soon as that whistle blows they’ll block everything out and just play footy.

“They’ll rip in, for sure, they won’t leave anything in the tank. They don’t get a chance like this very often.

“We’ve read it all in the papers how Australia are going to thrash us, but that’s what you guys think. We’ve got nothing to lose.”

9 thoughts on “It’s Pauper New Guinea

  1. Reading this story and the comments that follow on the newspaper website makes me both sad and angry. As I am of mix heritage Papua New Guinea and Australia, I understand both cultures very well and I think it is sad for ignorant Australian’s who have such narrow minds to judge people based on the amount they own or the price tag on their possessions. Since when did sport become about making money and going for the best deal? When we were children are we not told not to sell out but rather do what we want to so that we can be proud of who we are. Putting a price tag on each player is absolutely disgusting and to the author of this article, you have outraged a whole nation. For an example let’s put your price value up against UK and US journalists, mate you are not even on the map. What are you doing as a human being to help the world? As a journalist how are you helping the world by publishing an egotistic, self-indulgent and so far off the point article? PNG is a developing country and offcourse opportunities are slim, it is every boys dream to pull on that Kumuls jersey, that is why there is so much passion when PNG play because they play with their heart not with money in mind. PNG is completely different to Australia, village people do not need money to live when they are fully self sufficient with their own land. We will take any opportunity that comes our way but until then you can only achieve what is right in front of you. Playing rugby league is not about how much money you make, no sport is, it is more than that. Any person who gets the opportunity to pull on their nation’s colours, no matter what sport, have earned that right and that is what every single sport’s person aims for to be the best at what they do and represent their country. Obviously the author of this article has no idea about that.

  2. Well the other side to this article could be that since we play the game for the love of it, it shows our determination and drive to achieve something in this game.

    We may have lost 40-0 on the weekend, but its hardly like the days when it was 100-0 etc.

    This is our reality, that most people don’t earn allot from work if at all, but with our drive to get somewhere with rugby league maybe it can become a symbol of something bigger perhaps?

    So I reckon don’t sweat it, read what the Australian media had to say this week.

  3. Whatever they say now still doesn’t cut it for mine.

    They made an economic comparison which wasn’t there to be made. They humiliated and embarrassed us. And for that, they must apologise.

    PNG is not a media fantasy land. We are a real country inhabited by real people with our own set of circumstances and realities. And presenting us in such a narrow minded manner without appreciating our notion of wealth is unacceptable. They must apologise.

      1. I’ve raised my objections about the picture with a friend in Autralia who raised it with the appropriate authorities there.

    1. PNG not a “Media Fantasy Land”?
      What does his mean?
      Hope its not an excuse of the 40 nil thrashing, game should have been a lot closer, I blame Garry Juffa for his idiotic selection.
      It my not have a sophisticated Media by PNF is fefinitely hooked on images and heresay.

  4. it may have been 42 nil. but PNG played the second half out to the whistle,
    the team has a foundation , as long as it stays on this track it can only improve.
    The coach and coaching team show outstanding qualities , the players are very well skilled and passionate.
    If the whole team could be paid everyday with physio and the players train three quarters of the year with a longer pre season preperation of touring matches , then the score would be a lot less moving towards competitive.

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