FINALS fever has come to the fore in Port Moresby Rugby Football Union.
When former Port Moresby Barbarians RFUC strongman Matthew Trnka, who worked for Atlas Steel, decided one Saturday afternoon in 1994 to invest company equipment into making Bava a reasonable rugby playing field, the furthest thing from his mind was the class of rugby that would to be played on those very grounds years down the line.
Starting tomorrow, the top four of Port Moresby’s premier clubs converge on Bava Rugby Park to battle it out for the season’s top honours.
And the fact that these top four are the union’s oldest clubs, the weekend’s finals play-offs promises hard battles as the fearsome foursome vie to progress towards the big one.
Monier Harlequins, PNG Ports Brothers, Defence and Easiloan University have only next week’s game in mind, and it is not the Sept 12 grand final, just yet.
While defending premiers University stare down the barrel in the elimination minor semi-final against Defence on Sunday, the 90’s decade champions Harlequins will face a finals starved Brothers for the first grand final spot tomorrow at 3pm.Speaking at the captains’ get together this week, University’s Ella Ora said that the “banana was ripe for the taking” and that the intensity was there for a whole new level of ballgame in the finals.
“I don’t think there is anyone here who does not want to be there next weekend,” referring to his counterparts.
He added that his side had been working twice as hard after a nail-biting last round.
“We’ve come the hard way into the finals, and the work at training had to be doubled for the sake of a full-strength and fit side, just so that we are there at the end.”
Defence’s Aaron Miai does not want to bow out on Sunday either. “Apart from Josh (Posu), who is away with the Under-19 Pukpuks, we still have the side to take this game,” Miai said.
University have won the last three premierships and have the experience and depth to return for a crack at their fourth flag with Ora, Willie Rikis, Eddie Westley, Ray Romalus and Deakan Degoba, the main stayers of the three past seasons, leading the assault.
Hopefully, Trnka will be on the sidelines to see the products of his initiative strut their stuff and reminisce about how far they have come in 15 years.
The winners from tomorrows’ games ultimately take the first grand final spots while the losers get a second chance against Sunday’s winners the following week.
The lower grades and the women will play their games in the same format, and will absolutely make for an exciting three-week rugby extravaganza at Bava Rugby Park.