Ipswich Jets backrower sees long-term benefits for PNG in Qld Cup

A ROAD trip to Papua New Guinea was the major development at the launch of the 2014 Queensland Cup competition structure yesterday.

The PNG team has been added to the competition, which will start on the weekend of March 1-2.

Ipswich Jets player Rod Griffin, who has spent 10 years representing the PNG national side, the Kumuls, believes it will take the team a while to adapt. But give them five years and look out.

Griffin first represented the Kumuls when he was 16 and played in the 2008 World Cup.

"I think it's a good stepping stone if they want a team in the NRL," the 26-year-old said.

"Entering the Q Cup is the best thing they can do.

"It will be good for their progression to check out what league is like outside PNG."

Initially it is likely to come as a shock, Griffin reckons.

"After that I reckon they'll go pretty well, once they get used to the structures of games."

Part of the problem is the lack of organised competition for juniors in PNG. "Their strengths will be their raw talent," Griffin said.

"They've got plenty of that. They'll just need a bit of guidance."

Griffin remains in talks with the Jets about a contract for 2014.

Yesterday's competition structure announcement also revealed that the winner of the Queensland Cup will play its NSW counterpart in a national final on NRL grand final day.