By BURI GABI
FOUR teams have expressed their interest to enter the bemobile Cup competition this year but it is unlikely they would join as the PNG National Rugby League board has set stringent criteria.
In a recent interview with the PNG NRL chairman Don Fox stressed that teams intending to enter the bemobile Cup have to meet all the requirements of the board.
He said talking about entering a team in the competition was one thing but implementing the plans would involve money and a lot of effort and time to put everything into place.
So far, four teams have expressed their interest in entering the competition.
They are Waghi Tumbe from Western Highlands, Simbu Warriors, Gulf Sapea and Central province’s Rigo Roosters.
“It is most likely that these teams … might not enter the competition this year, but might get on board in the future,” Fox said.
According to Fox, these teams have expressed their interest, but there was nothing concrete put to the board for them to be seriously considered for this year.
One of the main requirements for franchises entering the competition apart from having good funding was to have a home ground secured as well as adequate player depth in order to guarantee a high standard of rugby league and to have a reliable fan base come to watch the matches.
Fox, also revealed that he would be meeting with officials of Simbu Warriors either late this month or early February to visit their facilities and identify their chances of entering the bemobile Cup this year.
Fox also stated that junior development was one of the areas which they would be looking at this year.
Meanwhile, PNGNRL board had their meeting on Saturday in Port Moresby and discussed the schedule for this season and the time for the kick of the competition.
According to Fox, the competition is mostly likely to kick off in April, possibly after the Easter weekend, and other issues that were discussed are the improving the image of the competition and also the gate receipts.
The current eight franchise teams, Agmark Rabaul Gurias, Toyota Enga Mioks, Masta Mak NCD Rangers, SBS Mendi Muruks, CIVPAC Port Morseby Vipers, ACTL Lae Bombers, Bintangor Goroka Lahanis and Bintangor Mt Hagen Eagles have been confirmed for this season.