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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has publicly acknowledged Papua New Guinea's passion for the NRL during his visit to the southwestern Pacific nation - and called for the country to get a team based on its soil.
Mr Albanese used his historic speech to PNG's parliament on Thursday to reaffirm his support for a Pacific Islander team to one day compete fulltime in the NRL, stating Australia and PNG have a 'shared passion for rugby league'.
'Today I affirm my view that I want to see a PNG-based, Pacific Islander team compete in the National Rugby League competition,' he said.
'Sport is such a genuine and powerful way of building strong and lasting ties between our peoples, at a code and club and community and family level.'
It comes as Mr Albanese told reporters in Australia on Wednesday he was 'very keen' to see a PNG-based team one day play in the NRL, revealing he has raised the proposal with league's administrators.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with PNG counterpart James Marape (right)