Every cricket fan in the country has kept their eyes on the progress of PNG’s national cricket team – the Barramundis. Whether it be on the telly, Facebook or in the news, Barramundis’ success as someone put it earlier should be up there on one of PNG’s proudest sporting moments.
One such lady who probably has kept her eyes on every Barramundis match, if not every ball bowled, is Irene Griffin-Vanua, the proud mother Barramundi all-rounder Norman Vanua.
To follow her Facebook page would be like following the tournament’s official page – up to date with each Barramundi match and in between, her personal words of encouragement to the team and of course a special one to her talented son Norman.
The young Vanua isn’t really a “newcomer” in the team as he has been around for some time and is easily one of the more senior players in the team. But the qualifying World Cup tournament has brought to light just how valuable Norman is and will be in the upcoming World Cup in Australia next year.
Such is the love a mother has for her son and his achievements, Irene has made no secret of how closely she follows Norman’s progress.
The more success Norman has been on the field, the more congratulatory postings Irene has made. And given the frequency of Norman’s sublime performances in crucial stages, the “congrats” postings have matched the runs scored by the talented all-rounder.
To give you an example of her level of support, here’s a comment after one of those match winning performances:
Son, I’m in tears because I am lost for words. Thank you for making proud in this tournament.
If you missed a Barramundi match during that tournament or wanted a recap of how PNG fared in every game, Irene’s timeline would probably give you a better insight chronologically than a random search on Google!
Irene and the families of the Barramundi players didn’t stop after the last ball. On arrival, the parents, wives and family members organised a welcoming party at the home of cricket – Amini Park.
This is why cricket is so successful.
While it may not have the funds or assistance from the Government, the family of supporters within the cricket fraternity is immense. This is the kind of support, money cannot buy.
To all those family members of the Barramundis team and supporters – you’ve done a great job in your support and the welcoming party.
For now, it’s more preparation as PNG enters a stage it once dreamed of.
Supporters like Irene Griffin-Vanua and many of the mothers and wives will play a crucial role at home. Hopefully, we’d like to see many of them in Melbourne cheering the team on and of course singing that team song that unites everyone no matter their background.