By TRAVERTZ MABONE
THE Wantok Gaming System Kuris (WSGK) will this year be at the helm as the franchise owners of the Mt Hagen team in the bemobile Cup competition.
With the new sponsor comes a new name and the Mt Hagen franchise team will now be known as the Mt Hagen Kuris.
The WGSK have given K100,000 for the Hagen team where K90,000 from the initial sponsorship went to their affiliation for this season.
Mt Hagen Rugby League president Samuel Buka, who is also the chairman of the Mt Hagen Kuris, said the name change was necessary for the new sponsor and because of a dispute between two parties claiming the “Eagles” name.
Buka did not, however, rule out an eventual return to the orginial Eagles name in the future.
Regarding the team for this season, Buka said that the team had been overhauled with a new-look that should expose more talent.
This year, the Kuris have been working with two teams for the franchise where Buka revealed that the team is mainly a development squad that he is confident will prove to be competitive against other franchises.
The Kuris have already proven their quality defeating Simbu Warriors 24-18 last Sunday in a trial match. Buka said he was confident that the team would bring in the expected results against the other sides in PNG’s premier rugby league competition.
He said Mt Hagen Rugby had been defunct over the past eight years however with the National Gaming Control Board’s timely assistance of K30, 000 to the league last year they have managed to build a strong team from selections carried out from the sponsored competition.
This year the NGCB has also increased the sponsorship to K40, 000 for the development of the Mt Hagen Rugby League.
Buka said that the club will be working closely and faithfully with the boys who return their loyalty to the team.
The word Kuri in the Melpa language is the name of a bird related to the Bird of Paradise.