By JACK AMI
THE Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Competition preliminary final and grand final matches will be played at the PNG Football Stadium.
PNGNRLC administrator Stanley Hondina confirmed that the preliminary final between the Gurias and the Wigmen is scheduled for Sunday (Sept 3). Hondina said the winners advance to the final on Sept 9 to play defending champions the Lae Tigers.
“Our grand final will not clash with Intrust Super Cup major semifinal between the Hunters and the Redcliffe Dolphins which is on Sept 10 at National Football Stadium,” Hondina said.
He said he understood the consternation among some fans who would want the final at the main Sir John Guise Stadium or the NFS, but it was not possible due to the costs involved and the scheduling of the Q-Cup major semifinal.
He said the Digicel Cup final needed to be a showcase event on its own and not play second fiddle to the Q-Cup fixture. Hondina said logistically staging the game at the PNGFS was practical as the size of the venue made game day management easier.
“The PNGFS was used during the Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup last year so its of a very good standard and we’re happy to have our games there.”
The semifinals double header on Sunday attracted a small turn out with an estimated 1000 fans in attendance.
Hondina said he expected the numbers to increase this weekend with the Hunters on bye.
He thanked all the franchises for their efforts and contributions during the 14-week season.
“I want to thank the eight sides that we had for the 2017 season, and a special mention to the Wigmen, Muruks, Gurias and Tigers for making the finals,” Hondina said.
“We’ve been happy with the way teams and their fans have behaved and it was good to see disciplined teams on the field and behaved fans supporting their team. I want to appeal to the teams remaining in the race to maintain the standard.”
Hondina commended the Tigers for making their second grand final in a row and for winning their fourth straight minor premiership.
Hondina confirmed that the Tigers as the minor premierswould be paid K20,000 for their effort.
He said the eventual Digicel Cup champions would get K65,000 while the runners-up K40,000 and the third and fourth-placed teams would get K20,000 each.
By JACK AMI