By BURI GABI and ZACHARY PER
PNG rugby league’s prodigal son the Kundiawa Warriors, are set to return to the country’s premier rugby league competition – the bemobile Cup.
After getting the green light by the cup governing board over the weekend, the Simbu franchise will take part in the competition after three years in the sporting wilderness.
The Warriors paid K70,000 to the PNGRFL offsetting a K60,000 debt incurred by previous sponsor Pagini Transport.
The extra K10,000 was an initial payment to get the Warriors on board with an additional K80,000 yet to be paid for the Simbu provincial team to complete its entry requirements for 2010.
The bemobile Cup board under chairman Don Fox agreed unanimously to accept the Warriors bid after submissions and guarantees from the interim Warriors board headed by Jerry Kapka with the endorsement of Simbu MPs in Governor Fr John Garia and Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Joe Mek Teine.
According to Fox, all franchise teams are urged to pay their franchise fees of K90,000 before March 13.
Fox, also the PNGNRL board chairman, confirmed that “the Warriors are definite starters” for the 2010 season but under strict conditions, in particular, not bringing the game into disrepute through violence.
“We want to make rugby league a family sport where mums and dads can take their kids to watch a game of footy but we need to put a stop to violence in rugby league first,” Fox said.
He said the board decided to re-instate a team from Simbu, which he acknowledged has produced many great players over the years. With the inclusion of a team from Simbu the bemobile Cup can now boast a full complement of teams from the Highlands region further strengthening the competition.
This will now see a total of nine teams in the semi-professional competition: Agmark Gurias, ACTL Bombers, Toyota Mioks, SBS Muruks, CIVPAC Vipers, Masta Mak City Rangers, Bintangor Eagles, Bintangor Lahanis and the Kundiawa Warriors.
The competition will kick off on the April 25 with four matches around the country while one team has the bye.
PNGNRL Chairman, Don Fox said that he was impressed with the Warriors’ commitment to re-entering the competition and commended Warriors board chairman Jerry Kapka and the rest of the interim board for their tireless work over the last seven months.
Fox also visited the playing facilities at the Warriors home ground, Dickson Oval, recently to see first hand the interim board’s plans for redeveloping the playing surface and the stands in time to host home games this season.
The board meeting over the weekend has now closed the doors to those interested franchises who want to enter the competition this year, which will now see that those interested franchises will have to wait for 2011 season.