The National, Thursday 25th April 2013
THE Digicel Cup has woken Mendi township from its slumber.
The Southern Highlands capital was feverish with excitement as it played host to the first home game for the Kemele Hela Wigmen franchise at the Joe Keviame Oval (Tente) on Sunday.
The Wigmen played the visiting Bintangor Goroka Lahanis. The Lahanis won 12-10.
The people came in huge numbers from the surrounding districts and the committed trekked four to six hours by road from Tari, in neighbouring Hela, just to get that adrenalin rush again.
Fifteen years has been a life-time for the faithful, and they did justice to the hard-work by Kemele Construction Ltd and the Wigmen board by filling up nearly every standing or seating space available.
Kemele Construction principal Firman Joseph ensured their end of the bargain was fulfilled with the Mendi Rugby League through their field use agreement.
This was part of the deal to ensure the local league was up and running again and to play a part in the re-development of the existing structures and general maintenance of the field.
This was the same for the local leagues that have the capacity in Hela within the three districts of Komo-Magarima, Koroba-Lake Kopiago and Tari-Pori.
“The PNGNRL accepted our expression of interest, we did the ground-work to ensure Mendi could host semi-professional matches and now the people of the Southern Highlands and Hela are winners,” Joseph said.
Wigmen board chairman Andy Hetra said they paid K6,500 to Mendi Rugby League on Saturday. This was for the registration of the six local clubs to the PNGNRL at K500 each, plus an outstanding bill the Mendi Rugby League incurred from a local security firm.
Hetra said the Wigmen franchise was all about bridging the gap for the youth who had been denied this opportunity to express themselves for too long.
Joseph said they were happy to play a part in the re-development of the playing venue, but they would like their Mendi Muruks counterparts to come to the party as well.