Papua New Guinea star Kyle Laybutt open to playing club footy in England

Kyle Laybutt Papua New Guinea Credit: Alamy
Kyle Laybutt Papua New Guinea Credit: Alamy

Papua New Guinea half-back Kyle Laybutt says he still has aspirations to be in a full-time environment, and would be open to playing in England.

The 27-year-old made two NRL appearances for North Queensland Cowboys in 2017, and has been plying his trade in the lower grades since then.

Laybutt has most recently been playing in the Queensland Cup for Townsville Blackhawks, making 17 appearances last season.

The Queensland-born playmaker has impressed every time he has pulled on the Kumuls jersey.

When asked if he still has aspirations to play full-time, Laybutt told Love Rugby League: “I do. It’s not my highest priority.

“I’m just happy playing footy where I am now and if the opportunity comes I will take it. I’m pretty content with where I am now.”

Laybutt is currently in England with the Papua New Guinea World Cup squad. He says he would be open to playing in Super League should the opportunity arise.

He added: “I’m working with my manager at the moment, just having a few chats and seeing what’s available. But absolutely I’d be open to it.”

Laybutt is a youth worker by day and a footy player by night. Although he’d like to be a full-time professional again, Laybutt loves his day job.

“I work with troubled Indigenous males at a school,” he said. “I help them get into school and work on their attendance and stuff like that, I love it.

“I’m part Indigenous as well so it’s good to give back to those younger kids that probably don’t have those opportunities in life. It’s something I really enjoy doing.”

Kyle Laybutt loving life in the Kumuls camp

Laybutt has won six caps for Papua New Guinea since making his international debut in 2018. He qualifies to play for the Kumuls through his grandmother, who was born and raised there.

“Every time I get to pull on the jersey or be around the boys it’s an awesome experience,” Laybutt told Love Rugby League. “I’m loving every minute of it.

“I always get the Facebook message (from my dad). I absolutely love him, he’s obviously really proud so I love it.”

Papua New Guinea will reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup if they beat Wales in their final group game next week.

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