The development of rugby league in PNG has received a major boost with the appointment of renowned coach, Joe Grima, as the new Head of Elite Player Development.
Grima, will bring extensive experience to the role having coached in the Super League, NRL and at International level with both Papua New Guinea and Malta.
Having played lower-grade with the Parramatta Eels between 2004 – 2010.
Grima began his coaching journey while stll playing, taking on the Head Coach role of the International side Malta, in 2004.
Grima then made a smooth transition into full-time coaching, starting as an Assistant Coach at the Cronulla Sharks in 2008, and working with both Ricky Stuart and Shane Flanagan during his time there.
This led to a move to the St George Dragons in 2014, where Grima worked closely with Head Coach, Steven Price, to turn the fortunes of the club around.
Having served a great apprenticeship as an Assistant Coach, Grima then took the next step, being recruited by the London Broncos as Head Coach in 2014.
In his time with the London Broncos, he was able to drive improvement in a young squad that was looking to make an impact in Super League, before an opportunity to return to Australia in 2016, saw Grima take on the role of Assistant Coach at the Parramatta Eels under Brad Arthur, with this role transitioning into his appointment as Eels Coaching Director in 2019.
Grima, began his association with Papua New Guinea in 2018, when he joined their rugby league program to work with the Kumuls (men’s) and Orchids (women’s) teams.
The culmination of his impact with both programs came in 2019, when he was part of the coaching team that led the Kumuls and Orchids to the most famous night in the history of rugby league in Papua New Guinea, when they defeated the Great Britain Lions and Roses in front of a capacity crowd at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.
In more recent times, post COVID, Grima has looked to help develop the next generation of coaches in PNG, conducting a number of coaching updates for the Digicel Exxon Mobil coaches.
Andrew Hill, PNG NRL Bid CEO, was delighted that Papua New Guinea and the NRL Bid had been able to appoint such an outstanding coach to help develop the next generation of players in the country.