By JACK AMI
ENGA Schoolboys Rugby League new-kids-on-the-block Four Square Secondary School dethroned reigning champions Kopen Secondary School 8-2 in Under-18 final to snatch the Sanso Cup at the Aipus Oval, Wabag, on Saturday.
It was Four Square’s maiden season in the ESBRFL competition and upsetting the three-time champions Kopen shows that the talent pool in the province is improving since the start of the school competition in 2013.
The Sanso Cup was sponsored by Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League chairman Sandis Tsaka, who believes and his investment at the schoolboys level in his province will ensure more young men get opportunities to graduate to the senior ranks and or pursue representative football — all-in-all it is good for rugby league.
Four Square captain Maeya Komba, who scored the match-winner was later named man-of-the-match.
In the U16 final, Yumbilyam and defending premiers Wabag Primary School drew 8-8 after extra time and were crowned joint champions.
Sanjo Palus of Yumbilyam won the MOTM award.
Wabag led 8-6 before Yumbilyam drew level with a penalty goal, pushing the match into extra-time but neither side could score the clinching try, penalty or field goal.
In a boost to the finals and the schoolboy competition, Kopen centre Thompson Yakambu was picked to trial with the PNG Hunters by coach Michael Marum.
The finals were heralded a success by Tsaka, who said it had been the best since the competition started four years ago.
The finals were witnessed by Marum, former Kumuls Max Tiri and David Noifa, Highlands Confederate director Joe Tokam and regional officer Gabriel Kiluwe.
Marum donated three rugby league balls, four goal-post pads and a PNG Hunters kit for the man-of-the-match awardees from both games.
The school boys’ competition was made possible by the Enga provincial government through the chairmanship of Grand Chief and Governor Sir Peter Ipatas, who has given support in cash and kind to schools in his province.
Several schools were given vehicles to help in getting their teams to the playing venue every weekend.
Meanwhile, Hunters coach Marum informed Highlands Confederation director Tokam, selector Max Tiri to assess other schoolboy picks for consideration to take part in his camp in Goroka in December.
Marum said the 40-man camp would be at the National Sports Institute.
By JACK AMI