Academy ProjectPlease note: Delivery is only available in Australia
AFL PNG Development are excited to launch the new ‘Ace’ inspired Talent Academy clothing line with our amazing partner Tribal Sport, all proceeds from sales directly support male and female Papua New Guinean football talent on their journey through the AFL PNG Talent Academy.
Growing up in Gordon, Papua New Guinea Hewago ‘Ace’ Paul Oea has been making waves within AFL circles after he joined the Gold Coast Suns on an international scholarship in 2019. But the journey for Hewago began much earlier, and much further away, at Murray Barracks AFL oval in Boroko, joining AFL PNG’s Smart Start Niukick Youth Competition at the age of 12, following his big brother Hapeo to play. Unfamiliar with AFL and living in Port Moresby, Ace played touch rugby, but he soon fell in love with AFL. He quickly graduated to play for his local AFL club the Gordon’s Kokofa’s, Hewago’s natural talent and persistence saw him rise through the ranks.
Hewago was invited to join the AFL PNG talent academy to foster his young talent. In 2014, Ace was selected to play with the PNG Binatangs U14s team at the Queensland State Championships and went on to impress talent scouts and recruiters with his dynamism and raw talent. This saw him join up with the South Pacific High-Performance pathway and return to Australia the following 3 years for periods of time as part of the AFL South Pacific Talent Camp. In 2016 after relocating to the Gold Coast, he earnt a place in the Gold Coast Suns Academy program and joined the Broadbeach Cats in the QAFL. Still just 15yrs of age, Ace was selected to join the PNG Mosquitoes National men’s team for the 2017 AFL International cup, and on Grand Final day at the MCG against New Zealand, he starred for the Mozzies with a Best on Ground performance. Ace is a fast learner both on the field and off and spent time with a tutor improving his education, Improving upon not only his football skills but also life skills. Ace has grown into an exceptional young man. An example for many to follow.
With his elite speed and tenacious tackling, Hewago has gone from strength to strength to land himself a position on the Gold Coast Suns rookie list for seasons 2021 and 2022. Great things are happening for international AFL prospects and ‘Ace’ is the top of the heap. Supporting this line and ‘Ace’ in his journey will help the best budding recruits from Papua New Guinea achieve their dreams of visiting Australia and to play football at the highest level they can.
Like Hewago, the opportunities for these kids to pursue football careers seem unreachable from their small football ovals on the outskirts of towns and communities across PNG. However, people like Ace have shown to these young players that they too have the potential to journey to Australia and make their dreams reality. The AFL PNG Talent Academy is in place to harness the outstanding talent Male & Female Papua New Guinean AFL players have, by providing them with quality structured coaching to work on their skill development and game knowledge as well as supporting their development as future leaders.
We sincerely thank Tribal Sport who continue to be an amazing partner after many years and provide a huge contribution to AFL PNG. All proceeds from sales directly support the next male and female Papua New Guinean football talent on their journey through the AFL PNG Talent Academy to Australia.
Ekonia Peni Chariman AFL PNG Development