By JACK AMI
THE Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Competition (PNGNRLC) has tweaked the Digicel Cup finals format to allow one more club into the playoffs this season, says an official.
Competition manager Stanley Hondina said yesterday that because of the increase in the number of franchises this year, the board had resolved to have the top six sides, instead of five, make the playoffs this season.
Newcomers Central Dabaris and Kimbe Cutters join the Bintangor Goroka Lahanis, EPG Enga Mioks, Agmark Rabaul Gurias, Lae Snax Tigers, Waghi Tumbe, Kroton Hela Wigmen, NCDC Port Moresby Vipers, PRK Mendi Muruks, PRK Gulf Isou and the re-admitted Mt Hagen Eagles this year’s competition.
The only omission from last season is the Simbu Warriors.
Hondina said the 12-team competition would be played over 22 weeks, with 18 rounds allocated for the regular season.
He said the draws would be finalised this week and the kick-off would take place in April.
As usual, the PNGNRLC calendar will start with the launch of the new uniforms of the 12 franchises.
Hondina warned all the franchises to comply with the PNGNRLC requirements by Jan 31.
He said there should be no excuses in terms of compliance, as all the franchises were made aware of the matter when receiving their acceptance letters last year.
“We had limited players listing of 25 for (each franchise) but as the season progressed (last year), some were including more players to their side,” Hondina said.
“For this reason, we have left it open and it is up to the board and management of each franchise to control this, as it is very costly for them.
“Franchises should take heed of this and not to delay the process of submitting their documentations.”
Hondina said 2018 was a successful and competitive level of competition to continue w
Meanwhile, Hondina says the standard of competition has improved and that he is looking forward for another quality season.
He said the inclusion of Central Dabaris, Kimbe Cutters and Mt Hagen Eagles would cause the existing franchises to step up their game this season.
By JACK AMI