The PNG Rugby Football League today announced the appointment of Nigel Hukula as the head coach for the PNG Orchids. Chairman of the PNGRFL, Mr. Sandis Tsaka said the PNGRFL Board who appoints the Head Coach of the Kumuls, Hunters, Orchids and all its international teams, during its meeting on Tuesday, endorsed the appointment of the Nigel Hukula as Head Coach of the PNG Orchids.
The PNG Orchids Executive Management Committee Chairperson Ms Ruth Waram said Hukula, until recently, was the assistant coach to Michael Marum with the SP PNG Hunters.
“It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Nigel Hukula as the Head Coach of the PNG Orchids for this year,’’ Waram said. “He is no stranger to rugby league, having represented PNG as a Kumul, coached at the Digicel Cup level and has been working closely with Michael Marum with the SP PNG Hunters and various roles with the PNG LNG Kumuls as well.
“Nigel brings with him a wealth of experience that I am confident the girls will benefit from during their busy calendar over the next 12 months.’’
Hukula thanked the PNGRFL board for their confidence in him, adding that he is not taking the appointment lightly.
“I would like to take thank the PNGRFL for their confidence in me, in appointing me as the Head Coach of the PNG national Women’s Rugby League team – the PNG Orchids.
“I have watched the team since their inaugural participation at the Women’s Rugby League World cup and how far they have progressed; and am excited to now be part of the team that is contributing to the development of women’s rugby league in PNG,’’ Hukula said.
The PNG Orchids have a busy calendar this year, participating in four international events, including the Pacific Games in Samoa in July.
Waram said as head coach, Hukula will oversee the PNG Orchids for these fixtures.
Hukula’s rugby league career start in 1997 when he played for the Goroka Royals from 1997 to 2011. He then played for the Goroka Lahanis from 1999 to 2011.
Hukula, Kumul number 206, debuted against the Australian Kangaroos in Port Moresby in 2001, played three Kumul test matches, and was the captain of the inaugural captain of the PNG Residents Vs PNG Internationals in 2008.
He was the assistant coach to the Goroka Lahanis from 2011 to 2012.
Hukula was the assistant coach to the SP PNG Hunters from 2016 till March this year, when he left. He was part of the coaching team which saw the Hunters win their first ISC grand final in 2017.
C.E.O of the PNGRFL, Reatau Rau, stated “Since Nigel’s’ resignation from his previous role as the Assistant Coach of the SP PNG Hunters, we have kept a dialogue with him. PNGRFL was involved in Nigel’s technical qualification during his time with the Hunters and had a desire to see if he might want to come back to the organization in some other role. We are delighted that after a few meetings, Nigel is happy to take up this challenging role for our top women’s team, as its head Coach. Nigel will in the coming days monitor the current women in training for the Pacific Test, then recommend a Coaching Team and players to the PNGRFL Board for its endorsement.”