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Manager – Competitions & Pathways, Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL)


The Manager – HP Competitions & Pathways is responsible for delivering the Competition and Pathways stream of the PNGRFL HP plan. This area will evolve high performance pathways and competitions in PNG, from nationally identified talented junior males and females at the U18 level, the Digicel Cup competition, a revamped National Championships for the women’s system, through to the elite Orchids and Kumuls national teams.


The PNG Rugby Football League is the governing body for the sport of rugby league in Papua New Guinea. It is a full member of the International Rugby League and is represented internationally in the female game as the PNG Orchids and in the male game as the PNG Kumuls. Domestically the national club competition (NRLC) is the Digicel Cup, and the PNG Hunters Franchise competes in the Queensland Rugby League’s HostPlus Cup competition. Rugby League is the official national sport of Papua New Guinea, the only country in the world with such status. The strategic vision of the PNGRFL for 2030 is to be ranked in the top 5 rugby league nations in the world. To support this vision the PNGRFL has created a high-performance department to deliver on the following priorities:

  1. To improve planning, preparation, and support around the PNG Orchids and Kumuls national teams, their supporting pathway programs and competitions.
  2. To rectify inequality for females in the high-performance rugby league system.
  3. To commence programs to develop ‘home grown’ high-performance expertise.
  4. To evolve the Digicel Cup clubs as the long-term high-performance drivers of Papua New Guinea’s rugby league ecosystem, for men and women.


The position is responsible for the recruitment and management of specialist contractors and/or employees delivering in the Competitions and Pathways area.

Strong collaboration will be required across several high performance, operational and commercial staff at the PNGRFL and external key stakeholders, including coaches, Confederate associations, Digicel Cup clubs, broadcasters and sponsors


Recognising the importance, context, and scale of achieving the PNGRFL HP priorities, the PNGRFL has developed a five-year high-performance plan outlining the key initiatives, programs, and responsibilities for the high-performance staff of the PNGRFL from 2023 – 2027 including the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.

The Manager – Competitions and Pathways is responsible for delivering the Competition and Pathways stream of the PNGRFL HP plan. This area will evolve high performance pathways and competitions in PNG, from nationally identified talented junior males and females at the U18 level through a PNGRFL National Combine concept, the 12 clubs of the Digicel Cup competition, a revamped National Championships for the women’s system evolving into a ‘PNG Origin’ style event, through to the elite Orchids and Kumuls national teams.

The incumbent requires an excellent sense of organisational capability development processes, strong knowledge of athlete development systems and the ability to create, evolve and deliver competitions, events, and initiatives in support of the PNGRFL high performance plan 2023 – 2027, including the 2025 World Cup. Positioning pathway competitions as key athlete and team development exercises, rather than must-win scenarios, is a key philosophy of the plan and an aligned philosophy is expected from the Competitions and Pathways Manager.


Reporting to the General Manager High Performance, the Manager–Competitions & Pathways is responsible for the design, implementation and evolution of best practice in athlete development pathways, through competitions and off-field programs, in the PNG high-performance rugby league system. The position oversees the development, evolution, and delivery of key high-performance competitions (i.e., National Championships – Confederate of Origin – PNG Origin) and pathway initiatives (e.g., PNGRFL U18 National Combine, pathways squad camps and programs) in line with the PNGRFL HP plan. The position has a large system building focus aiming to provide more athlete development opportunities for nationally identified junior female and male players, through pathway squad environments, targeted development initiatives as well as structured competition opportunities in the PNG high performance system. The evolution of the Women’s National Championships into a PNG Origin style showpiece event, which also forms the basis for national Orchids selection, is a key focus area of the role.


Working as a critical member of the PNGRFL High Performance Management team you:

  • Think strategically about how best to create meaningful change and professionalise the competitions and pathways environments in the PNG high performance rugby league system
  • Work collaboratively with the Performance People Manager to develop complementary programs and initiatives across Performance People and Competitions and Pathways initiatives
  • Work in a coordinated and collaborative fashion with the PGNRFL Community Rugby League and PNGRFL NRLC departments to ensure pathway and competitions initiatives are complementary, sequential and logical. Mutual cognisance of each department’s respective five-year plans and objectives is critical.
  • Using external expertise as required, profile the high-performance capacities and capabilities of Digicel Cup Clubs (e.g., organisational design, facilities, staffing) to help them better design and deliver programs and initiatives to become more professional high-performance environments
  • Work collaboratively with other members of the PNGRFL, Confederate bodies and system stakeholders to transform the National Championships into a showpiece “PNG Origin” annual event for women, providing a transparent platform for national selection into PNG Orchid teams, as well as generating significant revenue to reinvest into the PNG high performance system
  • Prioritise the female side of the high-performance system to address inequality of opportunity and support, with particular focus on delivering a female Digicel Cup competition in 2025
  • Work with the GM HP and national coaches and support staff to develop an annual program and budget for pathway initiatives (e.g., camps, tours, matches) for talented female and male PNG rugby league athletes at the 16s, 18s, U20s and international levels
  • Work with relevant stakeholders, the PNGRFL NRLC Staff and the NRLC clubs to support the introduction of female sides into the NRLC competition (“Digicel Cup”) in 2025

For more information on the Key Responsibilities and the Professional Profile required please see the attached Candidate Brief above the How To Apply section.


If you have any questions or wish to discuss any aspect of the role or application process, please contact Jonathan Harris at SRI Executive prior to Tuesday 7 February 2023.

SRI are managing this role exclusively on behalf of Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League, Queensland Rugby League and the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade.


t: +61 (0) 413 939 993


SRI is a boutique global executive search and consulting firm, servicing the rapidly converging industries of sport, media, entertainment, and content. We work as one partner-led team with staff based in key global markets across 11 offices on four continents. We offer dedicated and specific sector, function and regional expertise. Our services include executive search, board assessment, succession planning, salary benchmarking, advising clients on their internal and external hiring strategy, new market entry and multi-vacancy projects.

Diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) is a fundamental priority for SRI. Our philosophy focusses on embedding inclusive behaviours and processes across every element of our business practices, internally and in our work with clients and candidates.

Tagged as: Competitions Manager, High Performance, Pathways