The National, Monday July 29th, 2013
By JACK AMI
THE Southern Zone Rugby League Trials has attracted 20 centres to showcase their talents at Kwikila, Rigo district, Central.
The trials start today and end on Friday.
Hosts Rigo 1 and 2, Alotau, Tabubil, Popondetta, Aroma Coast, Marshall Lagoon, Kerema, Kavo Gulf, Koiari, Kairuku, Pari, Tubusereia, Barakau, Gaire, Poreporena, Gabagaba, Rigo Coast, Port Moresby and NCD Suburban are the sides that will compete.
Teams will be divided into four pool of four with the two top teams qualifying for the playoff. The finals format will see the qualifiers play quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final.
The favourites for the major crown are Port Moresby and the Suburban side while the dark horses are Poreporena, Koiari, Aroma Coast and Popondetta.
Hosts Rigo, Gabagaba, Tubusereia and Kerema are also expected to put up strong challenges.
Southern Regional Director Gwaibo Mairi confirmed that the prize money is K10,000 with the winner to walking away with K5000, the runners-up K2,500 while the third and fourth place getters take home K1,500 and K1,000 respectively.
Mairi said PNG Rugby Football League had allocated K25,000 for the trials. Part of the money was used to upgrade the oval while part will be for cash prizes and for administration costs during the trials.
He said the field was in good condition and he thanked PNGRFL for supporting in the preparations.
Mairi said the Southern Zone training squad would be selected to participate in the National Zone championships in Lae in September.
PNG Rugby League Referees Association chief Guma Opi has assigned six referees for the games.
He confirmed that Sports & Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko had accepted the invitation to officially kick off the Southern trials today.
Tkatchenko will be accompanied by Central Governor Kila Haoda, Oro’s Gary Juffa and Transport Minister Ano Pala who is also Rigo MP.
Mairi also thanked KK Kingston, Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd, South Pacific Brewery and Eda Ranu for coming in as sponsors in kind to support the Southern trials.