Port Moresby AFL races to salvage season with late start

The National, Wednesday July 20th, 2016

AFL Port Moresby made a desperate start to salvage its competition for this year with trial matches at the Taurama Barracks Oval on Saturday.
AFL PNG operations manager Rex Leka said the long delay in getting the competition off the ground was hampered by the unavailability of a proper playing venue.
The previous AFL matches were held at the Colts Ground and the Amini Park but the use of those two venues were suspended in 2014 for re-development to host the 2015 Pacific Games.
Last year’s competition matches were held at the University of Papua New Guinea Oval but AFLPNG was unable to re-secure the venue for the new season. It was not until early last week that AFLPNG were given the nod by the Taurama barracks commander to use the oval.
On Saturday, despite the late notice, clubs, including several women’s teams, turned up for some footy fun. The teams that turned up to show their support for the start of the competition included the reigning premiers Koboni, Gerehu Magpies, Bomana Cats, Taurama Suns, University Tigers and Dockers.
Although West Giants and Gordon Kokofas did not show up in full force, a few of their players turned up. Leka said that the trial matches would continue for the next two weekends to give time for players to build up match fitness. “After the trial matches, the normal competition matches will start and all teams will play each other once with the top four teams playing the finals,” Leka said. He said the AFL Port Moresby supervisory board would look into the option of dividing the competition into two pools and do a cross-over finals format as suggested by Suns Jeffery Namete.