Touch down in PNG


The ADF Touch Association made its mark in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), taking to the field in representative games between the ADF and the PNG national men’s and women’s open teams.

Six games were played across September 22-24, with a combination of triumphs and losses on both sides resulting in an overall draw for the two teams – an impressive effort considering the PNG national men’s and women’s teams ranked highly in the most recent Touch World Cup.

As part of the tour, ADF touch football gave locals the chance to get internationally recognised coaching and refereeing qualifications, as well as participate in a practical skills workshop and a school clinic attended by more than 200 local children.

The value of the training was further consolidated through the high-quality competitive international games played between the ADF and PNG national men’s and women’s opens teams.

The newly trained coaches and referees will put their skills to use on the international stage when they travel with the national teams to represent PNG at the Pacific Games in November.

Course participant Diane Vetu counted herself as privileged to be selected to represent PNG in this training program.

“I am so lucky to have been able to be selected for this course, without it I wouldn’t be qualified to do the Pacific Games,” she said.

Honesty and fairness were the greatest lessons Diane Vetu learnt from the course.

“Being patient, along with honesty and fairness creates a safe environment that allows any sport to thrive. As a referee or coach we are key to making this happen,” she said.

“I learnt how to do a switch with the referee on the field, plus how to control the play in the middle.”

Ms Vetu reflected fondly on the role touch football has played in her own life.

“I started playing in 1986 when I was just 12 years old, so it’s part of me; I still love the code,” she said.

“I love the people I meet and being on the field. It’s the best feeling.”

Although touch football has been in her blood for years, this is the first time Ms Vetu has held the whistle as a referee.

She was proud to use her new skills when she had the opportunity to referee the international representative games alongside highly qualified ADF referees.

“I have never had a whistle, I have never been the referee, I’m breaking ground today,” she said.

“This course is a privilege, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate. This means I can help grow the sport further in PNG.”

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