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A new era for Rugby League in the Philippines

On the 16th of January 2012 a group of Rugby League enthusiast met with Tas Baitieri (employee of the NRL at the time), in “The Rugby Club” at Circular Quay in Sydney. After that meeting the Philippines National Rugby League was formed with the aim of putting together an International Rugby League team and establish “The Greatest Game of All” in the Philippines. With the inaugural founding members:

President: Vice Admiral Eduardo Ma R Santos
Vice President: Clayton Watene
Treasurer: Mark De Ubago
Secretary: Erick Elefante
Philippines Representative: Rick Hartley
Media Officer: Michael Holt
Ordinary member: Greg Cross

Registering the Philippines National Rugby League – Australia Inc in NSW as its governing body which was duly recognised at the time as the governing body for Rugby League in the Philippines.

Eight and a half years later in October 2020 the Pambansang Ragbi Liga ng Pilipinas was incorporated as an organisation in the Philippines, and on the 5th of February 2021 received Observer Nation status. The first Asian nation to do so with the International Rugby League, the sports worldwide governing body.

With the organisation’s incorporation in the Philippines and the international governing body recognising Pambansang Ragbi Liga ng Pilipinas as the country’s governing body for the sport, by approving its Observer Nation status. The transfer of control of “The Greatest game of all” has now shifted from Australia to the Philippines. With the Vice President of the Philippines National Rugby League – Australia Inc being selected as the Acting President of the Pambansang Ragbi Liga ng Pilipinas Board in the Philippines.

At its 2019-2020 AGM on the 7th April 2021, a special resolution of the Philippines National Rugby League – Australia Inc was passed by unanimous vote of all 7 board members attending the AGM to voluntarily cancel the Australian organisation. With governing control now transferred to the Philippines. With outgoing board members:

Vice President: Reynaldo Nery
Treasurer: Trent Swanson
Secretary: Marvin Pace
Public Officer: Jason Carter
Ordinary member: Cheryl Barrientos
Ordinary member: Arwin Marcus
Ordinary member: Chad Overton
Ordinary member: Daniel Price
Ordinary member: Paul Sheedy

Recognising the support still needed in Australia to grow and develop the game in the Philippines. The Pambansang Ragbi Liga ng Pilipinas has identified committee heads who will be responsible for building a solid, functioning Australian committee who will support the Philippines and maintain the connection with the Filipino diaspora community in Australia, with appointed Committee members:

Chairperson: Erick Elefante
Committee member: Marvin Pace
Committee member: Paul Sheedy

Nine years ago, the founding members in Australia, established the Philippines National Rugby League with the aim of relinquishing control of “The Greatest Game of All” for Filipinos to where it needs to belong, to the Philippines. With its local board members:

President: Reynaldo Nery
Treasurer and Acting Chief Executive Officer: Joe Cole
Board Member: Neil Kester Pickford – Corp sponsorship and events planner
Board Member: Edson Byron K. Sy – Corp and government law

Appointed President: Reynaldo Nery of the Pambansang Ragbi Liga ng Pilipinas would like to thank all the unnamed individuals who are many. Who have put in many hours of volunteer work to establish a Philippines Rugby League. Their work and sacrifice are not forgotten, for without them, establishing the sport in the Philippines would not be a reality. It is now the perfect time to turn the page for a new chapter for Philippines Rugby League, and the direction it is taking looks bright.

Special mention and thanks go to Benjie De Ubago, who designed all the PNRL and PWNRL logos, Tamaraws and Sampaguitas emblems and Murphy Aloda; who designed all the tribal tattoos on those jerseys. Your work has allowed Filipino & Filipina Rugby League players to walk into the International Rugby League field with National pride!

A governing board now exist in the Philippines with the necessary skills and experience to grow the sport in the country and bring together all Filipino-heritage Rugby League players worldwide into “The Greatest Game of All” international family. MABUHAY PILIPINAS!

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