The SP PNG Hunters would like to clarify recent social media commentary regarding former player Jokadi Bire’s retirement from rugby league due to a medical condition.
As a professional sporting organisation the SP PNG Hunters have always held the health and safety of players and staff in the highest regard and will continue to do so.
All SP PNG Hunters players have top level medical coverage while playing for the Hunters.
This medical insurance is a visa entry requirement to come to Australia and play in the Hostplus Cup competition. This medical insurance covered all of Bire’s life-saving surgery and rehabilitation at a leading hospital following his medical episode in Australia during the 2021 season.
Post the 2021 season, the SP PNG Hunters continued to pay Bire post his contracted period while a career-ending injury insurance claim was lodged on his behalf. During this time the club also offered Bire employment both with the SP PNG Hunters organisation as well as opportunities for employment with some of our major partners. Bire declined these opportunities.
In April 2022, the QRL’s under-writing insurers declined Bire’s claim due to his condition being determined as a pre-existing condition. Subsequent to this, the SP PNG Hunters Board put together and offered player Bire a two year medical retirement package to help him transition away from rugby league and into his working life. Bire once again declined this offer of assistance.
The Hunters continue to wish Bire all the best in his recovery to full health.
The SP PNG Hunters will be making no further comment on this matter.