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The PNG National Rugby League Competition (PNGNRLC) board is very excited to announce the expansion of the Digicel Cup competition in 2019. Three new teams have been admitted while one has been dropped.

Chimbu Warriors has been dropped from the competition for failing to meet certain requirements set last season.

The PNG NRLC Board approved their participation last season to play at Minj on the condition that Dickson Oval be upgraded.

However, a recent inspection found that there has been no or little improvement made to the oval, The inspection also showed substantive damage to the fencing which is understood to have arisen from spectator behaviour during a local league grand final.

In their application to participate in 2019, the Warriors nominated Lopi Field at Goroka as the home venue for this season.

The PNG NRLC Board considered it ‘inappropriate’ for the Warriors to have Goroka as a home venue as Bintangor Lahanis are already based in Goroka at the NSI field.

The Board also noted that the Warriors did not demonstrate sufficient financial support and sponsorship and whether it would become available as the franchise found it difficult to operate towards the end of the 2018 season due to limited financial resources.

Due to these reasons, the PNGNRLC Board rejected their application to participate in the 2019 season.

The existing nine (9) clubs – Premiers Goroka Bintangor Lahanis, PRK Mendi Muruks, EPG Enga Mioks, Giru Waghi Tumbe, Lae Snax Tigers, Kroton Hela Wigmen, NCDC Vipers, PRK Gulf Isou and Agmark Rabaul Gurias – have been re-admitted.

Four new bids – Wamp Nga Mt Hagen Eagles, Central Dabaris, Kimbe Cutters and Mt Hagen Kera Doi – were received.

The Board approved the admission of Mt Hagen Eagles, Central Dabaris and Kimbe Cutters into the 2019 Digicel Cup competition.

Their applications were successful after meeting all the strict requirements set.

The application by Kera Doi was rejected as it was not accompanied by the required payment of the bid fee.

The PNG NRLC Board with guidance and advice from PNGRFL Board is confident the decisions made are in the best interest for the growth and development of the game in the country. The standards set in governance and administration will continue as we strive for best outcomes.

The 12 teams to participate in the 2019 Digicel Cup season are: Premiers Goroka Bintangor Lahanis, EPG Enga Mioks, Giru Waghi Tumbe, PRK Mendi Muruks, Lae Snax Tigers, Kroton Hela Wigmen, NCDC Pom Vipers, PRK Gulf Isou, Agmark Rabaul Gurias, Wamp Nga Mt Hagen Eagles, Central Dabaris and Kimbe Cutters.

Participation agreements and associated documents will be distributed to all 12 clubs in the coming days so the 2019 season launch and draw can be finalised in the new- year. The 2019 Digicel Cup season is scheduled to kick off on Sunday April 7, 2019.

PNG NRLC extends its gratitude to naming rights sponsors Digicel and platinum sponsor SP Brewery for their continued support to our domestic professional competition.

The PNGRFL / PNG NRLC Boards welcome the three new teams – Mt Hagen Eagles, Central Dabaris and Kimbe Cutters – to the PNGNRLC family and encourage all 12 teams with their players and staff – to be good ambassadors for their sponsors and supporters and role models by displaying high quality games on the field and demonstrate best behaviours and attitudes off the field and in the communities.