Naipao wants a Central team in Digicel Cup


Port Moresby Rugby League chairman and former Kumuls legend Dr James Naipao has called on Central rugby league administrators and elites to enter a semi-professional franchise in the 2018 Digicel Cup.
Naipao said since the inter-city competition started, Central did not have a franchise and it was something which should be given serious consideration.
He said Central’s bids in 2011 (Lagatois) and 2016 (Chiefs) were rejected.
The former Kumul said Central league administrators and elites should reach an understanding and work as a team to bid for the 2018 season.
“This is not about your own interest but the interest of people of Central, national MP’s, major sponsors and all the stakeholders involved to make it a reality for the stock of players in the province,” Naipao said.
“Gone are days in the 70s to the 90s where Central and Motuan players in the fringes of National Capital District would don the Kumul Jumper regularly. Their flair, speed, agility, defence, open play and rugby league intelligence was a spectators’ gem to watch.
“There is nothing much to display in the highest level of football. Do not talk about Mead or Nene, they were made in Australia.”
Some of the country’s top league players were from the Motuan villages of Porebada, Hanubada, Boera and the coastline Central and the Koairi mountains. This is not the case anymore.
Motuan and Central players like Tara Gau, Arebo Taumaku, Dairi Kovae, Philip Boge, Obert Batia, Dikana Boge, Mea Morea were Kumuls during their best years in the game.
“This is a wake-up call. Rugby league is entwined in these people. They know the history of rugby league very well when it came over from Wau-Bulolo during the gold rush days in the early 30s and 40s to this side of the country,” he said.
Naipao said currently, Central rugby was run like a tournament and this did not serve the purpose of developing rugby league.
A junior competition should also be run at the same time and a women’s competition should also be incorporated for Central rugby league to be fully recognised as a league of its own, Naipao said.
He suggested that because the province was big and logistics might be a problem, Hiri East and Hiri West divisions could be created to play division matches in the first round and against each other in round two.