By BURI GABI
THIS year’s bemobile Cup was officially launched at the Sports Inn last night with the announcement of with an exciting fixture – the All Stars challenge and a select side for a one off challenge against a Queensland Cup select side.
The bemobile Cup, which is expected to start late this month, has been deferred to May 2, to the franchise clubs more time to prepare.
In a joint announcement by bemobile Limited board chairman Anthony Smare and PNG National Rugby League chairman Don Fox said they anticipate an exciting year of rugby league in Papua New Guinea.
It was also announced last night that there would be two sides selected and would see a battle between the East and the West.
Franchise teams from the coastal regions – Gurias, Bombers, Vipers and Rangers will form the East side, while selected players from the franchises from the Highlands region – Mioks, Warriors, Muruks, Lahanis and Eagles make up the other side to have a hit-out on July 4 with a venue yet to be confirmed.
Smare said it was time for rugby league to reach another height and with the introduction of All Stars challenge, it would definitely build interest of the fans and supporters throughout PNG.
The All Stars challenge between East and West will see the selection of the bemobile Cup select side to play a one-off match against the Queensland side after the finals of the bemobile Cup.
Fox also said the competition was reaching another milestone with the All Stars challenge to prepare the players in the semi-professional rugby league challenge for major upcoming events of the rugby league calendar.
The four-nation challenge is the major fixture, when Papua New Guinea face rugby league super powers, Australia, New Zealand and England later in the year in Australia.
He also acknowledged Simbu Warriors for making a comeback to this year’s challenge.
Fox said he was expecting this year’s to be better than last year’s competition.
Smare acknowledged franchise owners and their joint sponsors for supporting the teams again this year.