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Manager – Performance People, Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL)


This position oversees the development, evolution, and delivery of key high-performance training and education initiatives for staff in PNG national teams, pathways programs and Digicel Cup Clubs (e.g., coaches, support staff, administrators and officials). The position has a strong people development focus aiming to provide more opportunities for talented PNG nationals to develop their expertise to work in and lead the PNG rugby league system in the longer term.


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.


Recognising the importance, context, and scale of achieving these 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 Performance People pillar of the PNGRFL HP plan is the training and education driver for current and future staff in the wider high-performance system. This pillar seeks to close the considerable expertise gap between the current PNGRFL high performance system and competitor international systems such as Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.

The incumbent requires people capability development credentials and a sound understanding of high-performance sports expertise to develop the next generation of PNG talent for the PNGRFL high performance system in the 2025 World Cup cycle and beyond.


Reporting to the General Manager High Performance, this position leads the development, evolution, and delivery of key training and education initiatives for staff in PNG national teams, pathways programs and Digicel Cup Clubs (e.g., coaches, support staff, administrators and officials). The position has a wide remit requiring a strong people development focus aiming to provide more opportunities for talented PNG nationals to develop their expertise to work and lead in PNG rugby league in the longer term.

The Performance People pillar of the HP plan will comprise formalised but real-world programs targeting game intelligence, coaching methodologies, officiating expertise, a women in rugby league program and support staff capability initiatives. Developing program content and opportunities for female rugby league players and staff is a key feature of the pillar and will be driven by the Performance People Manager.

The activities of this area will be a significant suite of programs for PNG rugby league, helping the passionate army of volunteers, coaches, administrators, and support staff in and around the PNGRFL high performance system develop their skills and expertise.

Developing programs that target and cater to PNG staff needs that also provide ongoing support, mentoring, monitoring, and accreditation are important features of this area.  The Performance People programs will be an important focus area to evolve the high-performance credentials of the 12 clubs in the Digicel Cup competition, which includes the introduction of female sides in 2025.


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

  • Think strategically about how best to create meaningful change and build high performance expertise in the PNG high performance rugby league system
  • Work collaboratively with the Competitions and Pathways Manager to develop complementary programs and initiatives across Performance People and Competitions and Pathways
  • Work in a coordinated and complementary fashion with the initiatives and objectives of the PNGRFL Community Rugby League and PNGRFL NRLC departments and their respective five-year plans
  • Work with key system stakeholders (e.g., athletes, coaches, support staff, management, confederates, Digicel clubs) to identify expertise gaps in the PNGRFL high performance system
  • Identify, recruit, and manage subject matter experts to assist, design and deliver targeted capacity and capability programs in the PNGRFL high performance system
  • Prioritise rectifying the equality of opportunities for female athletes, coaches, and staff to receive education, training, mentoring and support in PNG rugby league
  • Adopt a succession planning mindset where local PNG expertise is developed to enable more PNG high performance leadership in the 2026 – 2030 World Cup cycle
  • Collaborate with and extend previous capability building initiatives of the NRL, QRL and other stakeholders in PNG


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

Strong collaboration will be required across several internal and external key stakeholders, such as the QRL, NRL, APRL/IRL, NRLC Clubs, industry specialists and academia.

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: High Performance, Performance People, Rugby League