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John Drake

Philippines National Rugby League (PNRL) News

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First time to play Rugby League on Grass



When Marlyn Simpson sent the Philippines National Rugby League (PNRL) the latest pictures of the San Narciso Junior Rugby League team training at the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) she titled the photos, “First time to play Rugby League on Grass”!
There are many things that Rugby League children and their families take for granted in Australia, France, New Zealand (NZ) and the United Kingdom (UK), playing the “Greatest Game of All” on a grass field is one of many.
Since Tom Simpson and his wife retired to the Philippines last February he has been coaching the children of poor local fishermen on the beaches of La Paz at San Narciso, Zambales. There have been times where it has been so hot that training has had to stop because the children did not have sand shoes and were burning their feet on the hot sand, but they still keep on coming to training.
So last Saturday the 3rd August, PMMA President Admiral Richard U Ritual organized for the Academy bus to pick up the children and their families at La Paz beach for the 5km drive up to the Academy.
The children loved the experience, playing on a grass field for the very first time and told Tom that they wanted to train at the Academy field more often. The children and their parents even volunteered to walk the 5km from La Paz beach to the Academy if the bus was not available. How many children and their parents living in Australia, France, NZ or the UK do you know, who would walk a 10km round trip just to attend a Rugby League training session?
The children were in for more surprise at training, for many got their very first ever Rugby League jersey donated by John Fox of Manly, Australia. The PNRL would like to thank John for his generosity.
Many of the children’s parents told Marlyn Simpson a couple of days later that many of their children refused to take their jerseys off, with many sleeping with them on that evening. A very familiar story, many Rugby League families in Australia, France, NZ and the UK could also share.
Ron Washington a former Souths district Rugby League referee is becoming a familiar site to the children as he joined Tom, Harold Aguilo and Edmond Brocoy coach the team at the Academy. Ron is impressed with the children’s skills and believes that many would not be a miss playing in the tough South Sydney Juniors Rugby League competition. So sees a bright future for the “Greatest Game of All” in the Philippines.
This bright Rugby League playing future may soon be put to the test. With Jon Hoyle of the Malaysia Rugby League making contact with the PNRL board and Tom Simpson about the possibility of an U12 Junior Rugby League game between Malaysia and the Philippines. This would then cement the town of San Narciso, Zambales place in Philippines and Asian Rugby League history as the site of the first ever International Junior Rugby League game in Asia!
PNRL members living in the Philippines like Tom, Harold and Edmond have been doing their Rugby League development work as volunteers, with no financial support. The PNRL is eager to find financial help to continue their work. So any enquiries and offers of support can be directed to the contact details that is located on the PNRL website

About PNRL The Philippines National Rugby League (PNRL) is the governing body of Rugby League Football in the Philippines. Its mission is to enable all Filipinos to have a healthy lifestyle through their participation in Rugby League Football and to be competitive amongst the Asian Rugby League playing nations.  The PNRL focus is the promotion, development and efficient administration of Rugby League in the Philippines.  The PNRL is a non-stock, Non-profit Volunteer organization. The Philippines is a member of the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC) and an observer member of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF).

For Additional Information
Contact Name: [PNRL Secretary: Erick Elefante]
Contact Phone: [+61423653204]
Contact Email: []

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“Murphy’s Law” has imposed itself on the Asian Cup and Clark International 9s in the Philippines.

There are probably very few International tournaments in the history of Rugby League that have been impacted on by the Geo-Political events being experienced by the Host Nation. In this case the machinations across the waters in the West Philippines Sea have impacted on the introduction of “The Greatest Game of All” to the Philippines. With the Philippine Air Force cancelling the Philippines National Rugby League (PNRL) October 19-23 booking of Challenger Field in Clark City because the Air Force facilities is required for the Philippine-US Amphibious Landing Exercises code-named PHIBLEX, which coincides with President Obama’s visit to the Philippines.
As sayings go “every cloud has a silver lining”, with recent Philippine’s Rugby League historical events unwittingly coming to the rescue of the tournaments.
Who would have realized at the time the significance of that 27th of March meeting between PNRL board members Tom Simpson and David Perry with Admiral Richard U. Ritual of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA). Tom Simpson had only retired with his family to the fishing town of San Narciso a couple of weeks before and was meeting with the Admiral to talk about introducing Rugby League as a sport in the Academy.
Seven months down the track at the PNRL’s greatest hour of need in its short history, Admiral Ritual offered his Academy as the alternative venue for the October 19th Rugby League International 9s tournament and the 21st October Asian Cup International rematch against the Thailand Stars.
Inconveniently the Japanese Rugby League only informed the PNRL that they were withdrawing from what would have been a Tri-nations Asian Cup tournament a couple of days ago sighting “players unavailability” which has negatively setback the development of “The Greatest Game of All” in Asia!
With the tournaments relocation from Clark city to San Narciso, this small, quite, fishing town has truly become the birth place of Rugby League in the Philippines.
The work of Tom and Marlyn Simpson, David Perry, Harold John Aguilo and Edmond Brocoy over the last seven months bringing Rugby League into this town. By introducing it to the cadets at PMMA and the children of the local Fishermen on the beaches of La Paz has made the residents of this town the most knowledgeable local Filipinos when it comes to “The Greatest Game of All”! Rugby League will not be an alien sport with the residents as the games rolls into town.
With the Rugby League 9s and Asian Cup being the biggest ever sporting event to happen in San Narciso, local leaders Mayor Peter Lim and Barangay Captain Napoleon Angeles met with Tom Simpson over the weekend to lend their support. With this being the biggest “gig” in town in October the leaders offered to provide the traffic controllers to ensure the smooth running of the tournaments because they know that many people in the community will want to attend the games.
PNRL board member Rick Hartley the 2002 founder of the first All Filipino Rugby Union team the Philippine Warriors from the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) who now play both codes of Rugby; stated the additional benefits for the PNRL by moving the tournament to San Narciso at last week’s board meeting:
“Playing in PMMA will also be a big help in securing the future for Rugby League. As MAAP will be playing both full contact and touch. This will for sure add fuel to the fire of the existing rivalry between the two major maritime colleges. As for sure as night follows day the PMMA people will be very jealous of MAAP, Don Bosco and Anscorswire, so after all the dust settles from our tri nations. There should be a lot more local interest.”
San Narciso local Harold John Aguilo was only introduced to Rugby League in March this year and will be presented with his Level 1 Rugby League Coaching certificate at the Rugby League International 9s tournament making him and Edmond Brocoy the first qualified local Rugby League coaches in the Philippines, has perfectly summed up what the tournaments mean to the people of San Narciso on his Facebook page:
“First ever Rugby League Tournament in the Philippines (Philippines vs.Thailand) Please come and watch the greatest game of all! Rugby League Football is here in the Philippines on Oct. 19 ,2013 !!!Let all your friends and     relatives know about this exciting event. San Narciso is the Birth place of Rugby League. It's a huge honor for all of us Narcesineans!!! It's free!!! We have the opportunity to meet Famous and Professional Rugby League players from Australia and Thailand...All of them from Filipino Heritage. We will also witness the local kids from barangay La Paz to play their exhibition game. The PMMA cadets of San Narciso against MAAP of Mariveles, Teams from Cebu,and Clark. This is a must see sports event!!!
— at Philippine Merchant Marine     Academy.”
San Narciso is the first town in the Philippines with a junior Rugby League team, as well as the first purely Rugby League playing team in the country with the cadets at PMMA. It is the site of the second International 9s tournament and has the historical privilege of being the host of the inaugural Rugby League International Asian Cup match to be played in the country! And with Admiral Ritual, the PMMA, local government officials and local people playing and supporting “the Greatest game of All”, San Narciso can rightly claim to be the birth place of Rugby League in the Philippines!

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