2019 PNG National Team Sports

Australian rules football in Papua New Guinea is a developing team sport and has become the second most popular sport after Rugby League. The Papua New Guinea national Australian rules football team, the Mosquitoes, is the most decorated in international Australian Football, having won the most Australian Football International Cup titles, three, in 2008, 2014, 2017 and 3 silver medals in 2002, 2005, 2011, as well as three gold medals at the Arafura Games. This means they are the second most powerful AFL team in the world.

It was therefore disappointing that when PNG issued the National Team Sports stamps on the 15th April that AFL was not included. This was despite the back of the official cover proclaiming what a popular sport it was.

Mal Michael is the “king” of AFL players with Papuan New Guinea heritage. He played 61 games with Collingwood, 140 with Brisbane including 3 premierships and 37 with Essendon. James Gwilt played 152 games, 126 for St Kilda and 26 for Essendon and Ben Sexton played 39 for Footscray and 4 for Carlton. Aiden Bonar has played 6 for GWS and is now a North Melbourne listed player.

Hewago “Ace” Oea is a Suns Listed Player in 2020. He won the round 9 NEAFL Rising Star in 2019 and was a standout player in the 2019 NAB Academy Series.