The GWS rookie helping grow AFL in Papua New Guinea


The AFL debut of one of the few players of Papua New Guinean descent to play at the sport's highest level was significant on many levels.

Rugby League is the national sport in Papua New Guinea but Aiden Bonar says Australian Rules is growing in popularity.

"A lot of my younger cousins message my mum asking for footy boots," Bonar said.

"It's really growing over there."

His mother Suzie was born in Papua New Guinea.

Much of her family lives on the Pacific Island nation and are paying close attention to Aiden's sporting career. 

"I'm not sure if they've got TVs set up," Bonar said. 

"They always catch up by looking on Google."

Aiden Bonar with his family
Aiden Bonar with his family in Papua New Guinea.

Bonar looked up to Papua New Guinean players Mal Michael and James Gwilt when he was growing up.

The 19-year-old was selected with the 11th pick in last year's draft by Greater Western Sydney. 

He underwent two knee reconstructions as a teenager but it didn't stop the Giants from putting their faith in the talented midfielder. 

Bonar became the sixth player to debut for the Giants this season and marked his first senior appearance by kicking two goals against Carlton.

It was a performance that impressed many and most importantly his coach, Leon Cameron.

"When he went forward we were really happy, he really competes and his six tackles were rippers," Cameron said.

"He was really good and we were rapt with him."

Bonar now hopes to cement his spot in the Giants star-studded midfield.

"There's only a couple of rounds left so hopefully I can put my hand up and play finals," Bonar said.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch