The National, Friday 30th December 2011
PREPARATIONS for the 2012 Digicel Cup rugby league challenge are underway to ensure an early start to the season.
PNG National Rugby League general manager Hubert Warupi said the Digicel Cup competition was tentatively set to start in the first week of April, which would ensure the season was completed by early September.
The tentative competition draw is based on the current 10 teams.
However, he said there was no guarantee the teams were automatic entries for the 2012 season as there were a number of requirements franchises should meet prior to being accepted by the deadline set for today.
Among key requirements were financial levies and a home ground venue for the clubs.
Warupi said there were a number of key issues addressed this year that had contributed to the success of the season.
Some of these were the introduction of hefty financial penalties and disciplinary measures resulting in the decrease of incidents in player citations.
“The standard of the games is much better with crowd numbers generally increasing at matches. There has been a wide coverage of the competition on television, radio and print media unlike previous years,” Warupi said.
He said the Digicel Cup was a semi-professional rugby league competition and the standard of the competition, players, club officials and match officials should be raised to another level.
“The PNG NRL is fortunate to have the support of both the private and public sector in particular South Pacific Brewery and the National Gaming Control Board including a transparent and competent board and management.
“A focus area for 2012 Digicel Cup season will be to deliver quality and entertaining matches.
“Early in the year the PNGNRL will host a referee workshop to identify competent match officials for the Digicel Cup.
“Discussions are currently staged for an inaugural PNG NRL conference which will see Australian NRL club officials exchange information with franchise clubs in the Digicel Cup challenge,” Warupi said.