The achievements of young Samoan women were celebrated today (Tuesday 11 December), as they graduated from the National Rugby League (NRL) Beyond the Goal Posts Star program.

The program Beyond the Goal Posts Star is a NRL female leadership program, delivered in partnership with the Samoan Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) and supported by the Australian Government through the Pacific Sports Partnership (PSP).

Australian Charge d’Affaires Amanda Jewell joined Sydney-based NRL star Martin Taupau, staff from the NRL and MESC in congratulating the graduates from St Joseph’s College, Maluafou College, Vaimauga College, SENESE, Papauta Girls College and Leififi College.

“Women and girls are under-represented in the sporting arena, and I am pleased to be addressing a room full of young female leaders and to congratulate each and everyone of you on your completion of the program,” Ms Jewell said.

“The Australian Government is committed to supporting sport in Samoa and the Pacific region. This is evident through NRL’s local presence and also through our flagship sport for development program in the Pacific: the PSP program,”

Ms Jewell highlighted Australia’s sporting presence locally and was pleased to welcome NRL star Martin Taupau and NRL Community Relations Manager Michelle Baillie who joined them in today’s event,

“Australia has a remarkable international sporting pedigree and is internationally recognised as a consistent, high-performing sporting nation. This excellence is demonstrated at both the community level—through programs such as Beyond the Goal Posts—and at the elite level, and I am pleased to welcome Sydney-based NRL star Martin here today,” Ms Jewell said.

“Martin is also evidence of the friendships that sport fosters across oceans and borders. I value the personal connections that bind Samoa and Australia and hope to continue to see this relationship grow through the power of sport,”

“Sport can inspire people to action, and I hope that your participation in the Beyond the Goal Posts Star program continues to inspire you all to remain focussed on leadership, goal-setting, and a healthy lifestyle,” she concluded.

The Australian Government’s PSP program builds on a shared passion for sports to strengthen ties with our Pacific partners. The PSP has funded a range of programs, including the Beyond the Goal Posts Star, to help address the risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases, promote gender equality, support people with a disability, and improve social cohesion.