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Former Wakefield and Bradford half-back Ben Jeffries has been appointed head coach of the Papua New Guinea Orchids for this year’s World Cup.
The 41-year-old Australian is currently the elite pathways coach at NRL side North Queensland Cowboys. He also coached the Indigenous All Stars women to an 18-8 win over the Maori All Stars earlier this month.
The PNG women will make their second appearance in a World Cup this autumn, their first came in 2017.
Jeffries said: “I see PNG as an untapped playing market in the women’s game.
“If they play with the passion and pride that they normally demonstrate with some football smarts added in, it is a good recipe for success.
“I believe there would be more PNG qualified players that could play at the level of NRLW, they just need to be identified and possibly filtered into the NSW & Queensland competitions to provide that steppingstone.”
Since hanging up his boots in 2012, Jeffries has had a heavy involvement in working in women’s rugby league and is glad to see the women’s game continuing to grow.
He added: “It’s very pleasing to see not only the game and skill levels progress, but the perseverance and time invested within the female format from many personnel is paying off in providing pathways opportunities from the grassroots up.
“The game is now reaping the rewards in another market that never existed prior.
“The international, origin and NRLW formats are only going to intensify from this point onward.”
The Orchids, currently ranked fourth in the world, will open their World Cup campaign against Canada on Wednesday, November 2.
Source: Love Rugby League/NRL