Farmer Continues P.N.G Hoops Dream
Papua New Guinea men’s national team representative Aron Farmer has a clear ambition for the 2019 Pacific Games in Tonga.
“We’re going to win a medal,” the nineteen-year-old said.
“If it all goes to plan, hopefully that medal is gold.”
Farmer burst onto the Papua New Guinea basketball scene last July, while representing his country for the first time at the 2015 Pacific Games.
While he was born on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, Farmer became eligible for selection through his mother’s PNG heritage.
“Playing for PNG is very special to me. Having the chance to represent my family and the people is something I am very proud to do,” Farmer said.
Farmer’s Pacific Games campaign in Port Moresby appeared as though it would be cut short, after the swingman suffered an ankle injury in the opening match-up against New Caledonia.
“I felt my ankle twinge and I knew right away I had done something,” Farmer recalled.
“The Team PNG High Performance staff were outstanding though. They treated it right away and got the swelling down overnight.”
“I missed the next game against American Samoa, but there was no way I was going to miss any more.”
Farmer re-joined his teammates for their next game and then went on to be one of Team PNG’s best for the tournament, showcasing his skills at both ends of the court.
The 198cm forward still smiles when he talks about the crowd noise and the eruption in the stadium after his side defeated Pacific Basketball heavyweights Fiji & Tahiti in round games.
“The atmosphere was unreal. In those two games in particular, every shot was a big shot, every rebound was a big rebound. The crowd support was awesome and something I’ll never forget.”
Not only did Farmer make memories on-court, his off-court experience was also positive.
“We made some fantastic friendships and had a lot of fun. The atmosphere in the games village was really cool and as a team we really bonded.”
“I think that was a big part of why we were having success when we played. Everybody was really happy being a part of the team and we all shared the same goal.”
With last year’s Pacific Games behind him, Farmer has begun a new basketball journey in 2016 as a member of the Cairns Marlins in the Queensland Basketball League.
In his rookie season, Farmer has played minutes in the team’s first eight games, posting respectable averages of 3.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per contest.
“Playing & training with the Marlins in the QBL has been a great challenge for me,” Farmer said.
“Guys are a lot bigger, stronger and tougher. ‘Pearl’ (Marlins coach Jamie Pearlman) has given me a great opportunity to come off the bench, play some minutes and learn from the older guys in the team.”
Farmer knows there’s still lots of work ahead of him though.
“My short-term goal is to become a NBL development player with the Cairns Taipans, but to do that I have to become a lot more physical and improve on my outside shooting.”
“Becoming more of a leader is something I want to improve on also, especially with my position in the PNG national team. I wasn’t very vocal at the games and that was because it was my first time playing (for the country). I think the next time I get a chance to represent for PNG, people will see a different version of me.”
PNG hoops fans won’t have long to wait, with Farmer committing to play for his country in the test series against Fiji scheduled for December this year.
“I’m really looking forward to not only playing back in PNG, but also against Fiji. There’s a great rivalry between the two countries and when we hit the court against them in December, I think it’s going to be really intense.”