The National- Tuesday, January 25, 2011
By KEVIN TEME
The Papua New Guinea National Rugby League (PNGNRL) will have to make a hard decision this month when it sits to deliberate which of the new franchises will join the nine existing teams in this year’s intercity competition.
Three teams, Gulf Isapeas, Central Lagatois and the Huli Wigmen, all have put impressive bids forward and also presented their cases to the PNGNRL board meeting held at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby on Saturday.
Although Fox would not reveal the content of the presentations it is believed all provided compelling cases in terms of long term financial backing and sustainability while also having strategic plans on developing player bases and infrastructure.
It was hard to split the three competing franchises as all have adopted a professional appraoch.
“Right now it is looking pretty tough because the three interested franchises all did very well with their presentations and it is very difficult to choose,” PNGNRL board chairman Don Fox said.
Fox said for that reason the meeting finished late and a decision on the successful teams would be be announced by the end of the month.
“We can not be particular on who will join the competition but as I have said, they all did very well and it is very difficult for us to make a decision as yet,” Fox said.
While the Hela Wigmen and Gulf Isapeas presented their case for inclusion in 2011on the weekend, Central Lagatois presented last November during the first board meeting in Lae.
Former Kumul coach and sports administrator Ivan Ravu presented the Lagatois’ report.
Veteran media personality, Martin Liri made the presentation for Gulf Isapeas while the Tari franchise was represented by Luke Goodwin who is an Australian attached with Curtain Brothers in Tari, Southern Highlands.
According to Fox all the three did “a great job” and this has put the PNGNRL board in the unenviable position of choosing one.
Fox also added that the major sponsor of the intercity cup has been confirmed and will be announced later this week.
Fox said the competition was breaking new ground this year with the expansion and serious interest from new centres, and with the new sponsor the country’s premier rugby league competition would pick up from where it left off last year.
Meanwhile, Fox said the franchise fees for this year would remain at K90, 000 and the deadline for payment would be the middle of next month.
“February 18 is the deadline for the franchise fees to be paid in,” Fox said.
Gulf Isapeas representative Liri on behalf of the people of Gulf thanked the PNGNRL board for allowing the three new franchises the opportunity to present their cases instead of just submitting their bid on paper.
“It’s good that they invited us to go and present our reports and I thank them for allowing us this avenue rather than just relying on a paper submission,” Liri said.