Near the Hoop

Papua New Guinea Netball News


It's PNG's Turn to Host Pacific Netball Series

Posted by Near the Hoop on December 17, 2010 at 9:03 AM Comments comments (2)


Those following the Pacific Netball Series will know that Papua New Guinea has the opportunity to host the event in 2011 as part of the round robin process.

The Pacific Netball Series is an IFNA sanctioned annual tournament and pits the best four countries in the region against each other for the purpose of assessing the level of competition coming from this region and ranking at the world level.

Currently the top four nations in the region includes PNG (ranked 15th).  The others are Fiji (currently ranked 5th in the world), Samoa,( ranked 9th) and the Cook Islands (ranked 11th)

It is understood that Netball PNG (PNG Netball Federation) has already commenced the dialogue processes with the PNG Sports Foundation, who are the custodians of the Sir John Guise Indoor Stadium, the NCDC Governor’s office who will be the host City and the Oeania Netball Federation (ONF) who are IFNA’s lead agency for the region to ensure facilities are adequate for the tournament.  Discussions with sponsors and the netball officialdom will proceed from these discussions.

The Pepe’s were unlucky in June this year being pipped at the very end of each game.  In the process they missed the opportunity to attend the World Championships in Singapore next year.

The Pacific Netball Series will bring the regions big guns of netball to PNG which for netballers will be an opportunity of a lifetime to see the Pacific’s heavyweights in action against the Pepe’s on home soil.  It will also provide umpires and coaches the opportunity to see umpiring at the international level and the tactics coaches employ to manage their games and for the enthusiasts it will allow you to enjoy netball at the top level and the competition that will push the Pepe’s to their highest potential.

Though Australia and New Zealand and perhaps those countries that make the worlds top 5 countries play at a slightly higher level, many if not all of the women on the Samoan, Cook Island and Fijian national teams play on a full time basis in Australia and New Zealand’s professional and tier 1 competitions,  travelling back to their countries only to play for their national teams when required.  Australia and New Zealand are ranked No1 and No2 in the world.

In order for Papua New Guinea to host the PNS, criteria especially regarding the playing and training facilities will have to be considered adequate by IFNA/ONF.  The only facility suitable for such a tournament is the indoor stadium at the Sir John Guise facilities in Waigani.  Whether or not this will be accepted by IFNA will depend on whether or not the appropriate refurbishments will be committed to by the PNG Sports Foundation and the NCDC.

There should be some news on this in the next few weeks.

When Near the Hoop spoke to her this week, Julienne Leka-Maliaki, President of Netball PNG (PNG Netball Federation) was confident that PNG would host the series next year.  The PNG Sports Foundation and NCDC were not available for comment.

Congratulations to Cheryl Renagi - Lismore Open Team

Posted by Near the Hoop on December 9, 2010 at 1:23 AM Comments comments (0)

Congratulations to Cheryl Renagi who represented PNG to the Commonwelath Games has been named in the Lismore Open Team.

The Lismore Netball Association recently listed members named in their various divisions and Cheryl was named in the senior open division team.

(above) Cheryl Renagi at the Port Moresby trials in May this year.

Cheryl lives in Lismore, North Eastern NSW and was recently called to rep duties for PNG, playing in the midcourt..

PNG to Provide Players for Netball Singapore's Preparations

Posted by Near the Hoop on December 2, 2010 at 12:07 AM Comments comments (1)

Though our Pepe's didn't fair as well at the Commonwealth Games as we at home would have wished, our national team remains one of the best in the Pacific Region.

Placed in the context where Netball is the fastest growing sport in Australia and New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean and Central/SouthernAfrica, PNG has found it a real task to measure its stride in time with the more affluent countries.


(above) File images of the Pepe's v Singapore - images courtesy of Mike Petrides.

The World Championships in Singapore next year will be a showpiece for netball in the Asia Pacific and Singapore as host will be participating as Asian Champions.  PNG missed out on a place by virtue of its performance at this year’s Pacific Netball Series where it came last.  The event will pit all the worlds regional champions against each other in what should be a smorgasbord of excellent netball action.

As always, Singapore wants to be as competitive as possible and in a landmark development, especially for netball PNG, Singapore has asked for six international players from the region, two of which will come from PNG, to provide the Singapore national team with competition.

The details we understand are still being discussed with Netball PNG's Julienne Leka - Maliaki and her executive. 

Singapore announced the arrangements onMonday ahead of their national teams preparations for the Championships.  Channel News Asia also ran the story internationally on Monday.

Near the Hoop confirmed with Mrs Maliaki that negotiations were still continuing and at this stage, everything appeared positive.  No decisions have been made as yet, however, two players identified by the Singaporeans from the Commonwealth Games are being considered.  An announcement by  Netball PNG will not be made probably until the new year.  The extent of their participation and the names of the two will also be revealed at that time.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for Netball PNG and should be encouraged at all levels of the sport and administration.

To go to the story in Singapore, click on the following link.

Channel News Asia - "Team Singapore gears up for World Championships"


Pepe's schedule an intense 4 days in Brisbane

Posted by Near the Hoop on September 8, 2010 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)


The Pepe's head for Brisbane on 16th September 2010 for a four day intense session with all the Australian based Pepe's.  They return to Port Moresby on the 20th and then leave with the National Games team on the 29th September for Delhi, India via Australia.


They play their first game on 4th October 2010 to open their pool events against the Silver Ferns.


The four days in Brisbane will be spent fine tuning the Pepe's attack and integrating the Brisbane based Pepe's into the side. They will use the "All Hallows" gym facilities in Brisbane City and have enlisted the assistance of Queensland Coach Paula Stewart to work with the Pepe's over the four days.  Two matches have been arranged against a select side prepared by Stewart that should test the Pepe's real capabilities.


There will also be 1 on 1 and team sessions with the Queensland team sports psychologist to prepare the team mentally for the Delhi Games and beyond.  "Playing at this level it is as much about the mental fitness of the team as it will be about their physicals skills and the girls will have to learn to deal with it as professional sportspeople. It will be a baptism of fire for many of our team and we have to try to give them the best preparation we can with what little we have", Mrs Kassman said.


Both Kassman (head coach) and Petrides (assistant coach) are comfortable with the preparations of the Pepe's so far and are eager to get to see them play.  Petrides particularly is happy with the effort put in by individuals on the team.  Endurance and core strength which were sometimes left wanting are now satisfactory and the focus for the team until the Games will be court speed and team play. 

The rest is now up to the mental toughness of the individuals and how well they focus on getting things done.  The Pepe's have been training 5 days a week as well as turning out to their respective club commitments.


There are no injury concerns at the moment with a painful graze to her knee from last weeks club match with the Rebels, the only issue for captain Mona Lisa Leka.


Gold Eludes Grasp of the Pepes

Posted by Near the Hoop on Comments comments (0)

The Pepes missed out on taking home Gold on Saturdays Medals playoff games as Fiji turned in their "A" performance showing exactly why they are ranked 7th in the world as they imposed their will on an awestruck Pepe's. The Pepe's opened the game abreast of their arch rivals and even  traded nets with the Fijians through the first quarter.  The impression then was that the Pepe's had their measure and had the firepower to leash the Pearls this time on home soil.  The crowd was on our side and we had a Fijian coach who knew how to counter the strategies of this star studded side. 

But then the Fijians decided in the second and third quarters to drive home a message and for a short stint of perhaps 10 minutes the Fijians just went to town opening up a 10, then 15 and for a short while an 18 net advantage over PNG and it was all hard work defending our net and trying to breach the Fijian defences.


PNG definitely had the goods and lets not take anything away from the Pepe's effort, they put everything into the game especially the two defenders near the hoop. They played their hearts out however the Pearls just used their superior height and endurance advantage and when they shifted gear and weaved a bit of Bula magic into the mix, it was shazam and the game was over red rover.........


PNG's percentage was high given the amount of ball and pressure Tiata Baldwin and captain Lua Rikis were under, both shot well making it easier for the defenders when the score was advancing every time the Pepe's were in the half circle and when they had the ball they were doing things, but the agility and continued high gear the Fijians played at simply overwhelmed the Pepe's as they intercepted and scored of every turnover of possession.  Unfortunately the bench as not used as much as it could have to relieve  fatigue for the starting seven which means they were really driven hard, but the team as a whole played well.

It was an entertaining match as the Pepe's showed they are able to play at this level.  Final score PNG 51 Fiji 68

Fiji were deserved winners of the gold as PNG had to settle for Silver.