By ELIAS LARI
MORE than 10 teams have expressed interest in participating in the newly-established Western Highlands Governor’s Cup rugby league challenge taking place in the New Year.
Former journalist and the chairman of the Governor’s Cup, Nikints Tiptip said the challenge was a pilot project initiated by Governor Tom Olga.
He added the concept would see 10 sides participating.
The board and management of the Governor’s Cup are already in place to ensure the smooth running of the challenge.
Tiptip said the event had been sanctioned by the PNG Rugby Football League and would ensure that only affiliated leagues and registered players compete.
He said his committee received an overwhelming response from more than 10 teams but unfortunately, only 10 would be allowed to participate in the pilot project.
Tiptip said each of the seven districts had been asked to field a team.
However, there were exceptions for districts with more than one affiliated league to have an extra team.
“At the moment, we have one team each representing the seven districts except for Anglimp-South Waghi, with four leagues showing interest and North Waghi and Hagen Central with two sides each.
“We cannot allow all four but they could challenge each other in the playoffs and have their two top teams representing the district,” he said.
Tiptip added Anglimp-South Waghi had Minj, Banning, Kurumul and Kindeng leagues and suggested Kurumul and Minj could send a combined side while Banning and Kindeng send another.
He suggested North Waghi could have Banz and Nondugl fielding a team each while Hagen and Gomis would field a team each representing Hagen Central district.
All other districts, including Jimi, Dei, Mul Baiyer and Tambul-Nebilyer would also be sending teams.
Tiptip appealed to all the leagues to observe these requirements carefully and not to cause any confusion.
He warned that no league would be allowed to make any affiliation deposits without the consent of the board and management.
Olga said more teams would be allowed to participate next year if this year’s competition was successful.
The governor said the aim of the competition was to bring rugby league back to the rural community and as of next year, all registered leagues would be allowed to send a team each.
The Western Highlands Governor’s Cup rugby league challenge has already opened an account and, as soon as funding is released from the provincial government, a formal Cup launching is expected next month followed by the kick off.
The board and management comprises of Tiptip (chairman), Rexy Onda (president), Michael Bengi (treasurer) and Joe Tokam, Peter Bebi, David Noifa and Joe McConnor (board members).
Mt Hagen rugby league deputy president John Kala is the tournament director and will be assisted by John Ropa as referees and touch judges coordinator.