Gurias to host Lahanis in their 1st home game of the season
KOKOPO residents will get the chance to attend their first Digicel Cup match of the season after the Kalabond Oval was given the nod to host home side Rabaul Gurias and the Lahanis on Sunday.
The Lae Rugby League Ground will host a double-header and Port Moresby’s Sir John Guise Stadium will accommodate three matches – all on Sunday. Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Competition manager Stanley Hondina said in a statement yesterday that the Kalabond Oval management had the capacity to comply and implement the strict Banis Protocols in place to run the premier competition.
“Following my visit to Kokopo two weeks ago and a recommendation to the board which was subsequently approved, we are satisfied that staff at Kalabond have the capacity to strictly manage these protocols set by the Office of the National Pandemic Controller,” he said.
“I am also happy that the playing surface is suitable for the competition.”
Hondina said ticket prices and sales points would be made known later in the week.
Hondina said other venues, including Kimbe, Goroka, Minj and Wabag, were being looked at with the possibility of hosting a game.
“With five rounds remaining in the regular season after this weekend, we are hoping to have a game at these venues,” he said.
“The competition continues to adapt quickly to the challenges and changing circumstances presented by Covid-19, and shows how activities may continue with appropriate protocols that minimise the risks.”
Hondina said Sunday’s round-five Port Moresby double-header was played behind closed doors.
“It was a different atmosphere and feeling but we all got by,” he said.
“We should know in the next few days if the no-spectators restriction will be lifted or otherwise when the 14-day lockdown in Port Moresby is reviewed.”
Hondina said due to the fluidity of circumstances, draws would be released weekly for now.
He expressed the board’s gratitude to all franchise owners, sponsors, partners, players, officials and other stakeholders for their support and understanding over the past five rounds.
“They have been very co-operative and understanding and we value and appreciate them all,” Hondina said.
“We are halfway through the regular season. Therefore, I urge all of us to continue adhering to these protocols to keep safe. We encourage you all to be strong and maintain the spirit of teamwork so we can get through this difficult time.”
Sunday’s fixtures: Port Moresby – Port Moresby Vipers v Waghi Tumbe (12pm kick-off), Central Dabaris v Mendi Muruks (2pm), Hela Wigmen v Mt Hagen Eagles (4pm); Lae – Lae Tigers v Kimbe Cutters (1.15pm), Enga Mioks v Gulf Isou (3.30pm); Kokopo – Rabaul Gurias v Goroka Lahanis.