The Papua New Guinea Rigby Football League (PNGRFL) and the rugby league family especially from Malaguna, Rabaul in the East New Britain Province are mourning the death of former PNG Kumul Harrison Patiliu.Patiliu aged 66, died at his Malaguna No.1 village in Rabaul on Monday October 4, 2021 after a long illness.
PNGRFL Chairman Sandis Tsaka said late Harrison Patiliu was Kumul No. 10 and played in PNG’s first ever Test match against England on July 6, 1975 in Port Moresby.
“Harrison Patiliu debuted in that game captained by Paul Chue alongside fellow Islanders Billy Wartovo, Robin Guere, Henry Kavanamur and the likes of Rod Pearce, Vai Karava, Elijah Emori, late Tara Gau and late Lohia Daroa,” Tsaka said.
“He began his rugby league career in 1973 with the Rabaul Crusaders while a student at Malaguna Technical school in Rabaul.”
In 1974, late Harrison transferred to Port Moresby to study at Idubada Technical college now Port Moresby Technical college and joined the Hanuabada Hawks rugby league club.
“That year he represented Southern Zone to play against Highlands Zone in Goroka,” Tsaka said.
He continued playing with Hanuabada Hawks in 1975 and was instrumental in Hawks winning the
Port Moresby Rugby League premiership that year.
“That good form earned him selection in PNG’s first national Kumuls team as a second rower in the first ever Test match against England on July 6, 1975 in Port Moresby,” Tsaka said.
Late Harrison returned to Rabaul in 1977 and continued playing in the Rabaul league competition and represented New Guinea Islands zone on several occassions.
On behalf of the PNGRFL Board, Management and staff, PNG LNG Kumuls Coach Michael Marum, all players past and present and the rugby league family throughout the country, we extend our sincere condolences to his wife Eva Patiliu, son Ephraim junior, daughter Nemika Patiliu and his five grandchildren on the passing of her husband, their dad and bubu,” Tsaka said.
A funeral service was held today (Wednesday October 6, 2021) at Malaguna United church followed by burial at the Malaguna cemetery in Rabaul.
PNG LNG Kumuls Coach Michael Marum represented PNGRFL along with former PNG Kumuls David Tamtu, James Kapia, Lucas Solbat, August Joseph and Chris Purkikil and presented a Kumul Jersey to the family.
Rest in Eternal Peace……………Kumul #10 Harrison Patiliu