• June 7, 2017


God is good all the time and always great every day.
The past 12 months has seen myriads of many new horizons and new milestones for our Asia Pacific Confederation with its quest for success.

For the second time a double header was staged with 4 Pacific Teams at Parramatta Stadium with:

i) PNG taking on Fiji and such was a testament of growth of the game in PNG winning by the smallest of margins, 2 points.
ii) Samoa narrowly getting of the top of Tonga
iii) Cook Island played Lebanon at Belmore and managed to secure a win also.

The effect of the above permitted our Pacific Brothers to assemble at same venue to bring the Pacific Community together and built momentum and growth of the game with the assistance of the NRL.

We are appreciative of the support by the by staging these games and today, we will witness what we have been lobbying for, a Triple header embracing all 5 of the Pacific Teams and England.

Credit and acknowledgment of our Australia Counterparts for their foresight and belief in this ongoing mission and alignment to the Rugby League International Federation “Global Conversion”.

We also embrace our observer members from the many parts of our hemisphere such as South Africa, South America and our newly Asian observer member Thailand. Expansion into Laos is on the agenda and well as other close neighbouring countries.

I acknowledged the work of all nations and all their administrators for their never ending drive to grow and promote our game. All the best to all the teams. Keep on living our dreams!

We are now in our 4th edition of the NRL Fox Pacific Test Series with the assistance once again from the NRL which we are all grateful of. I recalled the first time when Tonga Played Samoa in 2013, then in 2014 Samoa vs Fiji and last year was the first to incorporate the double header to include PNG and Fiji…. However, as chairman I feel for our brothers, Cook Islands, hence the need to look at other options and budgets with a perspective to consider the Maori RL and or the Australian Indigenous team to play against the Cook Islands and rotate from that from year to year.

We acknowledge the support and contribution made by NRL to the pacific region and its players in staging these regular fixtures and give the Pacific Teams the opportunity to play.

I am aware that Cook Islands will play Lebanon this year but challenges on costing and insurance are
always difficult to overcome and we as a confederation need to support the cause in the most
appropriate way.

Strategic Recommendation: Although all costs are covered by NRL and Fox, I would suggest if any
surplus funds from the TV viewership to distribute back to the development of the game in the Pacific.
Further, since this weekend is utilise for TV content…..just on behalf of the Asia Pacific requesting NRL
for consideration for player payments (ie $2k per player) similar to what is paid out to Kiwis and

The Hawaiian opportunity is very much work in progress with matches played there over the past 4
seasons and with the presence of the Pacific Island people and those from several Asian countries not
forgetting the Americas, we have another market place to work with into the future.
We managed to stage two International residence games last year with Fiji for the first time playing
Canada, whilst Samoa played Tonga (for a change). The NSW Police RL also played against the Hawaii
Chiefs. This has been going on since 2013.
There has been a series of hiccups since last year and currently working on rebuilding what was an
amazing event.

We had the usual challenges with the US immigration service but was managed with support from our
Government relations team and in-country Missions. We need and hope to build a stronger relationship
with both intra government agencies to keep this festival of matches alive into the future.

2016- Strategic Recommendation: A revamp of the Asia Pacific Cup with appropriate Television rights
and the need to recognise the Indigenous and Maoris to be part of it and Residence Island players to
play for Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, South Africa and our other member Nations…Same concept
with the 9s competition…This will add to the power of our brand and the growth of the International
Game through the Ohana Cup.

The NRL Pacific Outreach Program is embedded well in the Pacific and this year the transition for local
staff to take over the Administration and Management is a positive step ahead and reflection of good
governance and local staff with the capacity to govern the program exclusively with the Governing Body
(e.g. Samoa) and I believe this is the same transition for Fiji, Tonga let alone PNG that is well ahead.
Strategic Recommendation: I believe that there are gaps needs to be filled in but the foundation is

We should make this a strategy that links directly to our RLIF ongoing pursuit for recognition in Sports
Accord and IOC. Strategic help such as School competition, the ongoing up skilling of potential coaches
and officials (i.e. School Teachers).

Female participation is also another key area that have been achieved and the need to sustain as this is
another key area where IOC and Sports Accord are looking at it with their assessments in order for our
sport to prosper and become recognised in the Olympic Sphere..

The Melanesian Club Championship match between club winners in PNG and Fiji every year is
commended with both Governing bodies continued efforts. Winners from each country adopt a similar
concept like world club challenge between Super League and the NRL.
There have been 2 such episodes played so far one in PNG and one in Fiji. This goes to show with our
modest means we are able to mirror what the giants in the NRL and Super league do.

A vision to plan on our own future strategy would be to mirror the Melanesian Club Champion format
for Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands and New Zealand possibly. We can visit the commitment that Fiji and
PNG have agreed to and certainly prepare a business case to encourage the 4 national champions to
play each other. A further long term strategy and work to each member nation to investigate.

We should continue to promote and grow our game to align to the RLIF Global Conversion Strategy. PNG
did a fantastic job in 2015 and believe Tonga will do the same. Credit to all teams that have participated
and special acknowledgement to Solomon Islands for their first time appearance.
Strategic Recommendation: A revamp of the Asia Pacific Cup with appropriate Television rights and the
need to recognise the Indigenous and Maoris to be part of it and Residence players to play for Samoa,
Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, South Africa and our other member Nations…Same concept with the 9s
competition…This will add onto the weight and grow the International Game!

2016 was another milestone in terms of staging the first ever Full International Rugby League Test
Match in Apia between Samoa and Fiji to mark the 30 Years of Rugby League in Samoa. Massive credit to
NRL for their never ending support and all our partners and stakeholders. This has no doubt open doors
for more opportunities to play more full international test matches in the Pacific.
We believe that the Australia Prime Minister’s 13 match each year could be rotated visiting the other
nations in the Pacific. It is for the good of our game and the exposure to counter Rugby Union which
always has games in the Islands. Our first fully sanctioned test match with full international players in
Samoa in October 2016 against Fiji will be the first ever full international league test game played in
Samoa since 1986.

GRANTs Criterias
As you can see from the RLIF Proposed Calendar sent earlier, grants will be given to members who
satisfied the following criterias;
(i) Governance – filing accounts and NOC/NSA recognition
(ii) Participation , Youth Development and Local Competition
(iii) Sourcing local Revenue and filing a Development Plan
We must ensure that we are accountable to our stakeholders, sponsors and APRLC and RLIF to meet


– Game Development & Upskilling of officials – Achieved and ongoing.
– Modified Games (9s series) – Commonwealth 2018 and 2019 as per RLIF Calendar
– International Games Spread. – Refer RLIF Calendar
– Membership growth – ongoing
– Grants Strategies through RLIF similar to RLEF. – Refer RLIF Calendar

God Bless,
Tagaloa Faafouina Su’a