THE country’s most successful pre-season rugby league competition, the Coca-Cola Ipatas Cup takes place in Mendi (Murumbu), Southern Highlands, tomorrow, with teams representing the provinces’ districts.
Ipatas Cup chief executive officer Timothy Lepa said from Ialibu yesterday that the Southern Highlands provincial capital would benefit from having games played at its main rugby league ground Tente.
“It is going to be an exciting weekend for rugby league fans in the province, especially for the people of Mendi, who haven’t had a regular league competition for some time,” Lepa said.
He said there would be four matches played with some interesting matches on the draw.
“Giluwe Tigers from Ialibu will play the SBS Bulldogs who will have several Lae-based Mendi Muruks players in Roderick Puname, Andrew Sam and Terry Toa on show so the standard should be very good.”
Other matches will see Tari Sharks coached by former Brisbane Bronco Julian O’Neil take on Mendi Central while Mendi Brothers and Lorma Tarangau clash in the other match. Nipa Snipers play Poroma Sharks in the final match of the day.
Lepa credited the Ipatas Cup as the catalyst for developing rural rugby league and for actively promoting the sport in the Highlands region.
He also thanked major sponsors Coca-Cola Amatil for its continued assistance.
Lorma Waves rugby league team based in the Western Highlands province received K500 boost from Lorma Construction to participate in the tournament.
Team manager Seth Palitu commended project manager of the company, Sape Malume, for the timely donation.
He said it was the first time for the team to receive such assistance from a company to participate in the tournament.
He said the team comprised youths from Enga residing in Mt Hagen, and they were happy that company working on a road project in their province came in to assist them.
Palitu said that the money was spent to arrange transport and food for the team.
He said that such donation would further boost the morale of the youths playing rugby league.
Palitu thanked Lorma Construction and Malume for showing their interest to support them to participate in the competition despite hard times when many companies refuse to come out and support local teams.
He said that there were many construction companies but were reluctant to support when they wrote to them seeking sponsorship.