THE sponsorship of the Pacific Cup marks a new era for SP Brewery and the game of rugby league as we venture into developing the greatest game of all in the Pacific Island nations.
“With SP Brewery sponsoring the Pacific Cup, it is consistent with our strategy to market the award wining beer brands across the South Pacific region,” SP Brewery general manager Stan Joyce said.
Joyce was speaking at the official welcome reception at the SP Brewkettle on Tuesday night for the four teams – Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands and hosts Papua New Guinea.
SP Brewery are the major sponsors of the Pacific Cup, an inaugural tournament attracting teams from the Pacific Island countries to compete and the winners go through to the next stage.
Joyce said that he was a proud man because of the company’s long association with rugby league in PNG over the last 20 years.
Minister assisting the Prime Minister Philemon Embel and PNGRFL chairman Albert Veratau also welcomed the visiting teams.
Embel, who delivered an inspiring message to the teams, noted that PNG was looking at entering the National Rugby League (NRL) competition in the near future.
With that in mind, he said the tournament would be an opportunity for the PNG National Rugby League Bid Team to select players from the participating teams to make up the PNGNRL squad for the future.
This means players from Fiji, Tonga and Cook Islands can now consider playing for the PNG team in the toughest NRL competition.
He also wished PNG and the touring teams all the best in the tournament.
Earlier, Joyce said the next two weeks would indeed be memorable for all participating Pacific nations from Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji and PNG.
Joyce commended other stakeholders and sponsors in particular, the National Gaming Control Board (NGCB), the International Rugby League Federation, PNG Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) and other support sponsors.