YOUNG Kumul utility Wellington Albert will fly to Sydney next week to hold talks with Penrith Panthers for a possible contract with the NRL club.
PNG Rugby Football League is excited about his development as he is a testimony to the success of their schoolboys programme.
The 20-year-old, identified during a development camp two years ago, will fly to Sydney to meet player agent Steve Deacon before they hold talks with Penrith Panthers chief Phil Gould.
PNG Rugby Football League acting chief executive officer Brad Tassell, made a brief mention of Albert’s impending talks with the Panthers on Monday during a media conference to announce Michael Marum’s appointment as head coach for the PNG Queensland Cup team.
Yesterday he released details of Albert’s meeting with the Panthers, adding that PNGRFL after the meeting with Penrith would in consultation with Deacon and his family to ensure the young man got the best possible deal.
The engagement of an experienced player agent such as Deacon was crucial to ensure not just Albert from Mendi, Southern Highlands, but other PNG player attracting interest from potential NRL clubs are guided by a professional to negotiate attractive contracts.
“I won’t be but his agent Steve Deacon will be. Steve will consult back with us and Wellington’s family about the discussions,” Tassell replied when asked about whether he would accompany the young man to Sydney.
Tassell said Phil Gould made contact with Wellington’s agent to set up next week’s meeting.
He said they would keep their fingers crossed the talks developed into a contract as “it could open the doors for many other talented young PNG players to be noticed and for scouts to start looking more at PNG”.
He did not want to pre-empt anything but even if Wellington got into the Panthers Toyota Cup squad it would be a promising move as that is the system that players like fellow Kumul James Segeyaro went through at the North Queensland Cowboys before they broke into the top grade.
Segeyaro was one of the success stories from the Cowboys programme before he signed up with the Panthers this year.
But if things do not work out as anticipated with Wellington, there is another NRL club, the Gold Coast Titans who have shown interest in him.
Wellington has shown huge potential, moving quickly up the ranks from juniors to break into the Kumuls World Cup squad.
He came off the bench in PNG’s last game against New Zealand where he scored a try.
A player agent was a crucial part of linking up a talented youngsters such as Wellington with clubs overseas and Tassell agreed a professional should handle the marketing of PNG players.
“They (player agents) know the system and the clubs and clubs cannot negotiate without a player agent involved.”
Tassell said interest in PNG players would increase with their involvement in the Q-Cup.
Wellington, who is a member of the 50-member squad which went into training yesterday at Bomana Police College, will be released for next week’s talks with Penrith.
“It is the primary reason why the (Q-Cup) licence was pursued – to give a pathway to PNG players into the NRL and Super League,” Tassell said.
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Downer Rugby League 9s World Cup
- PNG Kumuls 0 Australia 26
- PNG Kumuls 18 New Zealand Kiwis 18
- PNG Kumuls 23 USA Tomahawks 10
Pacific Test Results
201 9 - PNG Kumuls 28 Great Britain Lions 10
2019 - Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 20
2019 - PNG Kumls 6 Samoa 24
2018 - PNG Kumuls 26 Fiji Bati 14
2017 - PNG Kumuls 32 Cook Islands 22
2016 - PNG Kumuls 24 Fiji Bati 22
2015- Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 22
World Cup Results
Round 1 : PNG Kumuls 50 Wales 6
Round 2: PNG Kumuls 14 Ireland 6
Round 3 PNG Kumuls 64 USA 0
Quarter Finals : PNG Kumuls 6 England 36