The National – Wednesday, December 22, 2010
By KEVIN TEME
CHAIRMAN of the PNG National Rugby League Don Fox made it clear to fans of Hagen Eagles in a recent media statement that Western Highlands will only have one inter-city team.
That is to either combine the current Mt Hagen Wantok Gaming System Kuris and the Hagen Eagles or do away with one and come up with only one team.
In a recent media statement, it stated that Hagen Eagles would be coming back next year with a possible negotiation with a possible sponsor and also bringing in three big name players like Rodney Pora, Dion Aiye and George Moni.
However, Fox yesterday confirmed that Eagles have not submitted their interest and have not applied to take part next year as a way of formality.
Attempts made to get comments from former Eagles board Peter Bebi were unsuccessful.
Fox also confirmed that next year there will only be 10 teams taking part with only one team to be considered and currently there are three teams making formal application and their submissions are now with the PNGNRL board.
They are the Gulf Isapeas, the Hela Wigmen and the Central Lagatois.
According to Fox, the last PNGNRL board meeting, only Lagatois was represented and did a well researched presentation in which he was pleased while the Isapeas and the Wigmen did not turn up but sent their written submissions.
“This is to confirm that Hagen will only have one team and it is either the current Mt Hagen Wantok Gaming System Kuris or a combine team from the Eagles and Kuris. I think the best way is to combine both the Kuris and Eagles to make a good team.
“Either way, only one team will be considered,” Fox said.
Fox said the next board meeting Isapeas and the Wigmen would have to be present to make their presentation to justify their entrance into the tournament. “Right now, not one of them has qualified yet but we are looking seriously at having a 10-team competition next year and we are looking at these three franchise submissions.
“Only one will be considered,” Fox said this in an earlier interview.
Fox said the other nine existing franchise would also have to meet their requirements but it was a formality because all had already confirmed their interest in the 2011 season.
Right now, the major requirement that stands in the way for teams is to pay the K90,000 naming rights fee.
With the PNGNRL board limiting its expansion plans to a 10-team competition next season the onus is now on competing new franchises Lagatois, Isapeas and Wigmen deliver compelling submissions at the PNGNRL board meeting on Jan 22.
The inter-city competition kicks off in April and the three teams are working hard to meet all the requirements set by the PNGNRL board for a decision on their fate.
Fox also dealt Mt Hagen Eagles’ 2011 hopes a blow saying they would not be considered for the new season because they had not indicated their interest to re-enter the fray, but he did suggest a merger with Hagen Kuris as a solution.