13 Nov 2022
Jeffries urges PNG to seize 'life-changing' opportunity
The Orchids face Australia with a place in the final at stake
By Milly McEvoy
Papua New Guinea head coach Ben Jeffries has urged his players to seize a ‘life-changing’ opportunity when they take on Australia in a seismic semi-final.
The Orchids have made the knockout stages for the first time in their history, having already broken new ground with their first win at a World Cup in the opening round against Canada.
Jeffries has given his side free reign to do everything they can tomorrow in York as they look to pull off one of the World Cup’s biggest-ever shocks and defeat the defending champions.
“This would be a life-changing moment,” he said.
“We’ve already changed lives internally, especially over in PNG, but to reach a World Cup final and to knock out the champions would be something else.
“We always knew you had to beat the best to win it and when you have got two teams going toe to toe anything is possible.
“Belief is a huge thing in the world of sport, and it is something that this group has at the moment.
“I can't wait to watch, it should be a good spectacle. We've basically said go out and make a name for yourselves attack in attack, attack in defence, leave everything out on the field.
“They've been given permission to unleash.”
Despite there being another slice of history on the line, Jeffries has insisted his side are remaining calm, even if for some it could serve as a ticket to the NRLW.
He added: “We are trying to be as composed and relaxed as possible, that's pretty much how we have been the whole time.
“Hopefully, the nerves are settled early on. There are bound to be some nerves we just need to channel that energy in the right direction.
“I wouldn’t expect them not to have any nerves, this is the biggest game of their lives.
“A lot of these girls are aspiring to be NRLW players, this is the best platform they can have to test themselves against Australian players and NRLW players because that is where they wanted to end up.”
While Jeffries looked ahead to what a World Cup final could mean to the Orchids, captain Elsie Albert reflected on the sacrifices that had led them to the semi-finals.
She said: “It means everything, the girls have given a lot of sacrifice, most of them are young mums and stuff like that.
“They have left their kids behind to come here and to play so for us to make it to the semi-finals, it is something that we are excited about and we are looking forward to.”
The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets