Sport: PNG's Digicel Cup rugby league comp to expand

7:36 am on 8 December 2018

Papua New Guinea's premier domestic rugby league competition, the Digicel Cup, will expand to 12 teams in 2019.

The Mount Hagen Eagles, Central Dabaris and Kimbe Cutters will join nine existing teams, including defending champions Goroka Lahanis.

Goroka Lahanis are the 2018 Digicel Cup champions.

Goroka Lahanis are the 2018 Digicel Cup champions. Photo: PNG Kumuls

The application by Mt Hagen Kera Doi was rejected after failing to pay the bid fee while Chimbu Warriors have been dropped from the competition after failing to upgrade their home ground and demonstrate sufficient financial support.

PNGRFL Chair Sandis Tsaka said the governing body had a clear vision for the Digicel Cup when it came back under the administration's control two years ago.

"When we brought it in the plan was the competition needed to grow. The game was nationwide and we needed to expand the competition to capture as much of the talent that was coming through - to have a wide net to promote our youth players into the Digicel Cup and then develop the talent for pathways for our game," Sandis Tsaka said.

PNGRFL Chair Sandis Tsaka (L).

PNGRFL Chair Sandis Tsaka (L). Photo: PNG Kumuls

The 2019 Digicel Cup season is scheduled to kick off at the start of April.

"Our plans for when we brought the competition back in 2019 was we would have two teams come up we would expand it by every year but sustainably and making sure that all the teams are competitive and we have a competition that is not only expanded but it's a quality competition with the number of players and the number of teams being competitive," Sandis Tsaka said.

Mr Tsaka said the expansion is part of a six year plan for the development of rugby league in Papua New Guinea, including schools and the women's game.

The Digicel Cup.

The Digicel Cup. Photo: Facebook/Hon Justin Tkatchenko MP

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