Carol Humeu - Papua New Guinea
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your rugby journey?
My name is Carol Humeu. I live in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, and I play in the Port Moresby women’s rugby league competition for Tarangau. I have been playing rugby league since 2011 and I play second row. I first played for the Orchids (Papua New Guinea Women) at the Rugby League World Cup 2017, and I captained my country against the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII in 2018.
I started off playing rugby union in 2009, but in 2010 the women’s rugby league competition was introduced in Port Moresby and I joined in 2011. I played both codes for a while and I was part of the PNG women’s rugby 7s team, but I was not selected for the 2015 Pacific Games (which was hosted in PNG). So it was at that point that I decided to focus on rugby league, because I heard a national women’s rugby league team was going to be formed.
I used to train my own club as they did not have a coach, so I was a player-coach, captain, and trainer all year round in 2019. I had to organise the substitutions when I was playing. That was a very hard year, but we made it to the semi-finals of the competition. This was with the Magani team, which we put together to encourage girls from Central province to play rugby league, but it was not safe for me to travel the long distances to and from training on the bus.
One of my best moments was being named player of the tournament at Rugby League World Cup 2017, as well as scoring the Orchids’ first try against England in Port Moresby when we made history and beat them in 2019.
There have been bad moments too. When I started playing men would throw things at us. Even when we played our first Orchids match in 2017 in Port Moresby, the home crowd were throwing things at us when we did our lap of honour, and we had to run off the field.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with any of the photos?
I took photos of the Orchids’ selection trial match in Port Moresby in August, showing some of my teammates and one of my coaches, Exodus Kima, who has supported women’s rugby league for a long time and is very encouraging.
I also showed training and gameday with my local club, Tarangau. We train on a dusty field at Bomana Primary School, and we train together with the men’s team who are very supportive of us. That is why we train together, so they can push us through training.
I wanted to show the kind of field we train on in PNG (with no grass) and the kind of basic facilities we have, but we love rugby league so we are happy to train wherever we can.
One photo is the wall in my bedroom showing newspaper stories about me playing for the Orchids, as well as the headshot I had displayed in the changing room when I played against England, and a jersey given to me by my Orchids teammate Elsie Albert from her time at the Dragons NRLW team.
The photo of our team on the bus at the Orchids selection trial match shows a lot of my former teammates from the last World Cup in 2017. Most of them did not make the World Cup squad this year but we have a lot of good memories from 2017.
What ambitions do you have for the future?
I want to be a businesswoman, selling local products and I want to stay involved in rugby league as a coach or trainer.
Do you have a message for the next generation of young women’s players?
Believe in yourself. Commitment, dedication, being disciplined, listening to your coach, and putting God first in everything you do are all important qualities if you want to become an Orchids player.