TUBUSEREIA village on the outskirts of Port Moresby has taken its social issues to task on the rugby league playing field, with its own version of State of Origin.
The launching of the Clifford Kasi Cup Battle of Origin also has a message to drive home, telling people to say no to homebrew and drugs.
It was an historic occasion for the community witnessed by a strong contingent from the rugby league fraternity, sparked by PNG kickboxing sensation Stanley Nandex and Kumul David Meads, one of Tubusereia’s own son.
Speaking at the event, PNG NRL Bid team manageress Bev Broughton said she was appreciative of the concept and how significant it would be for the bid.
“It is heartening to see rugby league at grassroots level take this step. It is through this spirit that all good people come together for to make this development successful,” Broughton said.
Sponsor and founder of the concept, MRDC acting managing director Kasi said the idea had come a long way.
“This concept was borne from what I saw having lived in the community. It was an idea to use the youth to address these issues, and through rugby league, I have seen results,” Kasi said.
NRL Bid director Ben Sabumei, who was also present, acknowledged the support of the sponsors and the community for taking the lead.
“It is significant for me to be here and I congratulate Kasi for the incentive. This is the very essence of what the NRL Bid is about and I am very encouraged.”
“You are bringing hope to other rural areas, using rugby league to change the mindset of people,” he said.
The Battle of Origin is only into its second year and has seen battles on the rugby league park help spread messages about social issues amongst youth, and the community.
Teams involved in the battle are selected from the two sides of the village.
The teams are Lahara Boromas (Blues) and Laurabada Gaigais (Maroons) who paraded their new uniforms on the night.
Nasfund joint chief executive Ian Tarutia said it was easy to join the battle in fighting against these illegal activities by involving parties to sports.
Nasfund has sponsored a banner for the event.
Also present were PNG Junior Rugby League chairman Ifisoe Segeyaro, PNGRL chairman of selectors Arnold Krewanty and former Kumul Aquila Emil.
Blues won the second series last Saturday by defeating their opponents 26-18.
The final will be played this Saturday.