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Board members from the Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC) held a region-first strategic planning workshop in Australia this month to redefine the scope of the body and plot a new direction for the confederation and its member nations.

Representatives from APRLC full members Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, New Zealand and Australia spent a fruitful two days working through APRLC’s new purpose statement, key focus areas, international fixture planning and stakeholder relationships within and outside of the game.

The board considered APRLC’s historical challenges, opportunities for growth and development, relationship building, calendar planning, and governance structures.

Upcoming work is likely to focus on scoping commercial opportunities, strategic communications, developing pathways and capacity building opportunities that link different countries in the region, and a sharpened focus on women’s rugby league along with development and fixtures in Asia.

The workshop included a presentation from Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) general manager of stakeholder relations, Clint Newton, kick-starting a new period of collaboration with the players’ representative body regarding international fixture planning.

Event management company Duco Events, who are delivering the 2019 Oceania Cup and Great Britain Lions tour through a joint venture with the Rugby Football League and New Zealand Rugby League, also presented on the work being undertaken for this year’s events and the planning process for future tournaments.

The board redefined APRLC’s purpose statement as ‘harnessing the spirit of the Asia Pacific to advance rugby league’, which encompasses the uniqueness of the region – its people, culture, environment and potential – and its collaborative nature.

“The statement’s focus is on spirit first and rugby league second, because we believe our region offers something different and unique compared to every other in the world,” noted APRLC chairman Sandis Tsaka, who is also the chairman of the PNG Rugby Football League. “If you have good spirit, you can move mountains.”

The APRLC looks forward to presenting its full strategy at the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) congress in Sydney in October.