By PARKER TAMBUA
HIGHLANDS outclassed Northern to claim the Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited (KPHL) National Schools Rugby League Under-14 Championship with a 22-6 win in the final in Port Moresby yesterday.
In the third-place playoff at the Oil Search National Football Stadium, hosts Southern beat New Guinea Islands (NGI) 14-4.
The one-day event saw Highlands and Northern finish first and second respectively at the end of the regular rounds to book a date in the final.
Highlands team manager Francis Ray told The National after the trophy presentation that he was impressed with the abundance of talent on display.
“I’m happy for my boys who have played some entertaining rugby league to claim the championship,” the Kumuls legend and former Mt Hagen Eagles coach said.
“The boys we’ve selected come from all over the seven Highlands provinces.
“Looking at how the tournament transpired today, I could see a lot of future Kumuls and Hunters in our group of boys. Not only in the Highlands team but the other sides too.
“There are also some potential stars from NGI, Southern and Northern.
“I am thankful to the Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League and its sponsors for coming up with this concept.
“This concept will surely have an impact on the future of rugby league in our country.”
Highlands fullback Junior Kilawe starred in his side’s win, scoring two tries while their other two four-pointers were scored by Finly Peter and Issac Heto. Northern’s only try was scored by Jeffery Bagelo.
The U16 championship kicks off today. Under-14 squad: Jeffery Bagelo, Willy Sam, Layet Mining, Jeremiah Anga, Junior Kilawe, McJustin Buka, Bre Aina, Magau Kapi, Gideon Jimmy, Gana Talabe, Rex Heagi, Justin Dominic, Emmanuel Were, David Fove, Brie Kaupa, Gaba Frank, Benjamin Atua, Mark Kitaun, Junior Opo, Nigel Alou, Bona Boski, Albert Posave, Francis Nakas, Joshua Kiandu, Kennedy Timothy, Johnly Peter, Adrian Genolagani, Franky Kiandu, Joachim Raylip, Luke Steven, Joseph Andraripa, Dicson Bennet, David Manatar, Ben Mara, Isaac Heto, Yama Wayne, Andrew Meruge, Morris Elgan, John Kelly, Aaron Lucas. Awards: Junior Kilawe (top try and point scorer), McJustin Buka (player of the tournament).