IN recent years, more Papua New Guineans have made the move to the UK than perhaps ever before.
The likes of Lachlan Lam, Edwin Ipape and Liam Horne will be joined by the Castleford Tigers-bound Sylvester Namo and Nixon Putt in Super League in 2024 – if, of course, the Tigers remain in the top flight.
Most rising Papua New Guineans ply their trade for the PNG Hunters, who compete in the Hostplus Cup – the second tier of Australian rugby league.
Others are dotted around various NRL clubs as well as their feeder teams which is true of rising starlet Ragarive Wavik, who is just 20 years of age.44
The fullback is currently on the books of the North Queensland Cowboys, but has been an ever-present for the Cowboys’ feeder team, the Townsville Blackhawks, in 2023.
With lightning speed, an eye for the line and exciting defensive qualities, Wavik – whose nickname is ‘Raqsy’ – is highly-rated Down Under after playing a stirring role for the Blackhawks in lifting the Mal Meninga Cup two years ago as well as helping them to qualify for the finals this season.
Having moved to Australia as a youngster without being able to speak a word of English, Wavik is an incredible success story – even through a difficult injury period – and he has lofty ambitions to play for his native PNG.
“Things are going well so far, my Blackhawks team has progressed to the finals,” Wavik told League Express.
“I copped an ankle injury during pre-season which sidelined me for about six weeks but I was lucky enough to complete my rehab and get it back to where it needs to be.
“I love playing rugby league and representing the country of my birth would be massive for not only me but for all my family who still live in PNG as well as here in Australia. It’s definitely on my list of things I want to achieve as a rugby league player.”
Has Wavik ever considered a move to Super League? Yes – and it’s from the example that Lam and Ipape have been setting at the Leigh Leopards.
“I’ve seen how well players like Lachlan Lam and Edwin Ipape, who are from PNG like myself, have been playing and succeeding over in the UK.
“So if the opportunity rose to play in the UK, I would definitely have to consider it – who wouldn’t?”
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