One of Papua New Guinea’s best loved rugby league stars has been helping Solomon Islands’ men’s and women’s rugby league 9s teams prepare for the Sol2023 Pacific Games while stationed in Honiara as part of the Games policing operation.
Ase Boas, who captained PNG Hunters to an historic Queensland Cup premiership in 2017 and has represented PNG Kumuls seven times, is in Honiara as part of his role with the Royal PNG Constabulary (RPNGC), helping with community policing at the Games.
While in town, he took the opportunity to attend training sessions of the Solomon Islands teams, who have been playing in rugby league 9s at the Honiara’s National Stadium this week, and found time to watch most of their matches during the men’s and women’s tournament.
“My keys to success are what I called the 3 D principles: Determination, Discipline, and Dedication. Anybody willing to pay the price can be successful, despite your situation,” Boas told the Pacific Games News Service.
Although Solomon Islands failed to win a match across the men’s and women’s tournaments, they competed well against teams from far more established rugby league nations.
Solomon Islands women’s captain Sharon Tepai admitted it had been a challenging tournament, and that her team would benefit from a longer preparation period in future.
“We tried our best. It was hard, but we all gave our best efforts, and we have learned and experienced a lot. If we all keep on playing rugby league throughout the whole year, we will be able to start beating other teams,” she said.
Boas, who won gold with PNG at the Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games rugby league 9s competition and was named player of the tournament, reflected on the challenges he himself faced to make it to the top, and what he learnt along the way.
“Generally speaking, the biggest challenge for me is experiencing new things because, where I come from, life is centred around family and family alone. But when one climbs the ladder of success, a lot of things change. That, for me, is the most difficult aspect of my journey.
“Balancing work, sport, and family is essential for moving ahead in life. Set your goals high and believe in your heart that you can reach them. You can do it.”
Rugby League 9s concluded at Honiara’s National Stadium on Wednesday, with Cook Islands winning gold in the women’s tournament. Tonga claimed silver and Fiji won bronze. In the men’s tournament, Samoa won gold, Fiji settled for silver and Cook Islands won bronze.
By Peter Psalm and Hellen Palmer, Pacific Games News Service