The National – Thursday, December 16, 2010
THE people of Gulf and the Papuan coastal region are waiting with abated breaths for an announcement by the PNG National Rugby League that a provincial team from the region is accepted to contest next year’s national rugby league competition.
The PNGRFL board met in Lae last Saturday to discuss, among other things, whether to accept or reject the inclusion of additional teams in the former bemobile Cup competition for next year.
PNGNRL chairman Don Fox revealed recently that Gulf Isapea or crocodile in the local Toaripi dialect, the brainchild of Gulf Governor Havila Kavo, was one of the three new franchises that had formally lodged their expressions of interest with the board to contest the 2011 competition.
A Gulf Isapea insider yesterday confirmed that Gulf Isapea Ltd, a company set up to control and drive the bid, “had formally lodged its expression of interest to contest the 2011 competition and beyond, with the PNGNRL Board”.
In an initial meeting between Fox and Kavo last year, Fox was reported to have said he welcomed the interest shown by the Gulf Isapea franchise as the province had produced some of the nation’s most distinguished rugby league players.
He had said he was privileged to have played with and against some of them in his heyday as a league player in the country.
However, he said reputation was one thing and getting the nod from the PNGNRL Board was another.
“As long as your house is in order, the possibility of getting the nod was very good,” he had told Kavo.
Kavo had initially committed K500,000 towards Gulf Isapea’s involvement in the national rugby league competition in 2011 whilst several “well placed” resource development companies had been approached to come on board as major and minor sponsors of the team.
According to the source, Gulf Isapea’s chances of getting the nod had been enhanced by the fact that “the franchise has opened its door to talented players not only from Gulf but other potential players from Western, Central, Oro and Milne Bay.
“The PNGNRL is mindful of the fact that the present composition of the teams in the competition is dominated by players of one region and could hardly be called a ‘national’ rugby league competition,” the source said.
“It would, therefore, be in the interest of PNG NRL to consider seriously bids by other provinces and decide accordingly to make the competition a truly national competition in deed.”