The Kemele Hela Wigmen are the 2014 Digicel Cup champions after beating the Agmark Gurias 34-8 this afternoon at the Lae rugbly league grounds.
The Wigmen registered their first points in the third minute after the Gurias gave away a penalty in their own half.
But the Gurias hit back two minutes later through good back line play that saw Chris Jerry score right on the wing.
More penalties given away by the Wigmen allowed the Gurias to keep the pressure on. This eventually turned into points when Jerry crossed over for his second in the sixteenth minute. Kicker Jason Missian was not able to add the extras which left the scores at 8-2.
The next twenty minutes belonged to the Wigmen.
They scored three tries in as many minutes to turn the tables and take a 16-8 lead into the first half.
The Wigmen came out even stronger in the second half when winger Jeremy Ludwick scored his second try of the game after only 5 minutes.
Wigmen kicker, Dickson Paul could not convert the extras bringing the score to 20-8.
Several plays later, Jerry was denied his third try of the game after the sideline referee ruled no try saying Jerry’s foot had touched the side line before he grounded the ball.
Poor ball handling and silly penalties from the Gurias didn’t help their cause as the Wigmen capitalized and scored more points through a try and penalty goal to extend their lead.
The last 15 minutes saw the Wigmen comfortably defend their lead scoring a try right on the full time siren to win their first ever premiership title in only their second season in the Digicel Cup competition.
HELA Wigmen coach in absentia, Stanley Hondina, said he was proud that the side he had a hand in developing had made the Digicel Cup grand final in their second season.
Hondina, who has been working in Sydney, Australia, since the beginning of the year, said he had been fortunate to work with Kumuls coach Adrian Lam, pictured and had gained him a fresh perspective on coaching the game.
During several visits to Papua New Guinea, Hondina said he had tried to incorporate the professional approach he had been introduced to in Australia.
The former Prime Minister’s XIII five-eighth and inter-city championship-winning player said those structures had been the foundation of the Wigmen’s success. Hondina completed his level one accreditation as an International Games Coach (IGC) with the South Sydney Rabbitohs club and will complete level two over the coming months.
“I was lucky to get a chance to work with Adrian at his club – the Clovelly Crocs – which is part of the Sydney Roosters development programme. I got to coach one of the junior teams while Adrian coached another side,” Hondina said.
Lam and Hondina have developed 14 juniors who have gone on to represent the Sydney City Rooters Under-16s in the Harold Mathews competition. “I know there are not enough qualified or accredited coaches in PNG. That is why part of the Team Kumuls programme is to train PNG coaches to equip them and get accreditation,” Hondina said.
Lam said that Hondina’s experience with coaching in Australia would place him in a good position when he returned to PNG and he was sure the Wigmen would benefit from it.
“Stanley has a great understanding of rugby league, both on and off the field, as a player and administrator. He has a great composure and a deep tactical and technical mind, which is great asset for is Hela Wigmen and rugby league in PNG,” Lam said.
Lam said regardless Sunday’s result in the Digicel Cup final, the Wigmen were in good hands and would continue to develop and be successful.
The Agmark Gurias are eyeing their sixth premiership title when they take on the Hela Wigmen at the Lae Rugby League ground on Sunday.
The 2014 Digicel Cup decider will pit two evenly-matched sides that have been the best and most consistent over the 20-week competition.
The Gurias made the final after over-powering a fatigued Enga Mioks in Kokopo on August 17, while the Kemele Construction-sponsored Wigmen, who are making their first grand final appearance since entering the competition last year, upset title favourites, the Lae Snax Tigers, 22-20 in the semi-final in Lae on the same day.
The coaching match-up has two men who took over the reins of their franchises from incumbents at different parts of the season and for different reasons.
Wigmen’s Andrew Andiki has filled in admirably for head coach Stanley Hondina, whose work commitments saw him posted to Sydney at the start of the season, while George ToBata’s rise to the top job in the Gurias camp came after former coach Oscar Tonga was sacked mid-way through the season.
Both sides, who finished two (Gurias) and three (Wigmen) after the regular season, have a balance of experienced and young talent to call on ensuring a close match.
The Wigmen have a core group of veterans with international and premiership-winning experience in George Moni, Charlie Wabo and Joseph Omai. These three have won inter-city premierships with the Mendi Muruks and have all representeted the country. They will be complemented by experienced campaigners prop Samuel Sok and converted backrower Felix Tangue while boom youngsters William Mone five-eighth, Weza Tenza at hooker and prop Stanton Albert have shown throughout the season that they belong at this level.
The Gurias have their own stars in Kumul World Cup players Ase Boas, Franchis Paniu and captain Travis Waninara. The East New Briton’s young brigade is just as impressive with dummy-half Quinton Ragi and Jack Marcus some of the stand-outs for the New Islands side.
PNG Hunters coach and former Gurias mentor Michael Marum said the final was too close to call but he gave his old team a good chance to win in Lae. “It’s a tough game to pick. They’re both very good sides and have shown over the season that they deserve to be in the final,” Marum said.
“It’ll be tough, that’s for sure. The Wigmen, I think, have the edge in experience, with players like Charlie Wabo, George Moni and Joseph Omai to call on but I know the Gurias have so much talent and their systems have been strong this year. I think, whoever controls the ball better will win this one, but either way, it is going to be a tough one (game).”
The semi-professional competition into its 25th year has seen the Gurias rack up five titles with their first one in 2001, when the Gurias, captained by Marum beat the Goroka Lahanis 18-2. The final kicks off at 3pm on Sunday with a crowd of at least 10,000 expected.
MINOR premiers Lae Tigers and the Agmark Gurias are in the box seat to qualify for the Digicel Cup preliminary finals when they play host in the quarterfinals of the top eight this Sunday.
With their impressive home record, the Tigers are expected to walk over the Enga Mioks and the Gurias should give a double dosage to the Kemele Hela Wigmen.
The four franchises finished in the top four with the Tigers the minor premiers, followed by the Gurias, Wigmen and Mioks.
The losers out of the top four have a second-chance and will get to play the winners of the two elimination matches.
The elimination bout will see fifth place PRK Mendi Muruks play eighth placed Bintangor Goroka Lahanis in Mount Hagen and reigning champs Stop N Shop Port Moresby Vipers play seventh-placed TNA Lions at their home-ground in Lae.
Last season’s grand-finalists Vipers and the Lahanis are wary of being knocked-out of the race.
Should the Mioks go down to the Tigers, they are more than likely to account for either the Lahanis or Muruks in the first semi-final or meet the Gurias in Kokopo. The National
THE Agmark Gurias staved off a second half resurgence from the Port Moresby Vipers to inch home 18-16 at the Kalabond Stadium, Kokopo.
PNG Hunters players Brandy Peter and Edward Goma featured in the Gurias side that rattled the Vipers who were out of sorts in the first half.
Gurias had the lead early after being awarded two penalties that pushed them to the 10-metre mark.
It was a solid effort by Gurias five-eighth Ase Boas in fending off Vipers fullback Josiah Abavu, before scorin in the second minute.
The Vipers lacked structure and were found jostling among themselves for running space.
Abavu and captain Richard Kambo slowly gave direction to the defending premiers.
Abavu was forced to defend when Gurias prop Jackson Undi crashed into a group of Vipers before offloading to lock Danny Patrick, who punched through a gaping hole, wrestled Abavu and hooker Presley Soto out of his way before slamming the ball beside the posts in the 25th minute. Jason Missian converted to make it 12-0.
Gurias came barking back at the Vipers try line only to have Missian helped off the field after Abavu sailed through the air and caught him awkwardly in a flying tackle.
He suffered a bloodied gash on the forehead.
Missian, along with Vipers halfback Tiliks Kawage suffered minor concussion and bleeding in what was a physical encounter between the two glamour teams.
The Gurias regrouped for another raid after halfback, Watson Boas nailed an impressive 40-20 and later set up a try for Goma to score.
Quentin Ragi converted to lead 18-0.
Vipers replied with a try to Abavu that Soto failed to convert. Gurias led 18-4 at halftime.
The Gurias failed to score again as the Vipers posted two tries, one to Ragi followed by hooker Soto.
Vipers lock Stanley Torato converted both tries to make the scores 16-18.
The Gurias missed aanother try after it was disallowed by the referee.
THE Enga Mioks are keeping their finlas hopes top four hopes alive after an impressive 32-14 win over the Hela Wigmen in Lae yesterday.
The Mioks ran in five unanswered tries in the first half 22-2 lead over the shell-shocked Wigmen. Poor goal kicking kept the margin from being bigger.
Mioks posted the first points on the board through fullback Michael Gawi, who scored first of his two tries after a good lead up by his forwards to put them in front 4-0, but minutes later the lead was cut down to two after Wigmen five-eighth William Mone kicked a penalty to trail 4-2. The Engans playing in front of a good number of their fans including Enga Governor Peter Ipatas, increased the lead to 10-2 after Richard Reto, who was awarded the man-of-the-match, scored and captain Charlie Simon converted for a eight-point lead.
The Enga provincial government sponsored franchise pushed on with tries to Rex Yallon, Reto, Joe Kingal for a 20-point lead at halftime.
To their credit, the Wigmen put up a better challenge in drama packed second 40. Reto was left dazed after trying to tackle Wigmen reserve forward Raymond Tia, while Hela teammate David Lapua was put on report for a shoulder charge and spear tackle and Mioks backrower Randy Joseph was sin-binned for starting a after the spear tackle.
The Kemele-sponsored Wigmen finally notched a try to their name through veteran Joseph Omai who planted one next to the Mioks uprights to trail 22-8.
With the clock winding down Mioks bounced back after a scrum win inside the Hela 30m that saw reserved back Kingston Pisep putting Gawi through for his second try to extend the lead to 26-8.
The Wigmen replied with a try after prop George Moni put in a kick that saw hooker Wesser Tenza win the race to the ball.
The Mioks had the last laugh though with centre Tobi Kopi scoring which halfback Willie Guambo converted for the win. The National
Enga Mioks will host Hela Wigmen at the Lae rugby league ground in what is expected to be a fiery encounter, while the Lae Tigers will try to maintain pride with their first minor premiership against the Mendi Muruks. The Mioks held off the vicious Port Moresby Vipers in Lae last week and are set on continuing their winning streak.
Muruks, who failed to last for 80 minutes in Kokopo last Sunday, will have the spectator advantage as hosts over the
competition leaders in Mt Hagen.
Mioks coach Timothy Lepa has maintained his
team of young guns have been working hard on their combinations and have been
improving in every match .He said they will try to shut out the Muruks.
Tigers, on the other hand, have had the shortest week this season
after returning to Lae last Monday following their 24-18 win over the Wigmen in
the Western Highlands capital and their return trip by road last (Thursday)
“It’s been a short week for us.
“After a day off, we trained on
Wednesday and Thursday and then had to travel on the last night after training
in order for the boys to acclimatise,” said coach Stanley Tepend.
a good, strong and solid side.
“We have been working on adapting our
combinations,” Tepend said.
He said prop Mogi Wei Junior will make his long
awaited return while young hooker Warren Glare will be out of action for the
second week following his hamstring injury.
MENDI Muruks team manager Wallen Molsi said during the week that his side had
been hard done by in their 24-16 loss to the Agmark Gurias last Sunday.
Molsi was critical of referee Levi Anui’s performance.
He alleged that Ainui brought disrepute into the game when the Muruks were leading after the
first half of the match.
“There was bias in the match. We are not making excuses because we lost,” Molsi said during the week.
“We were leading 12-10 at half time and just five minutes into second half we scored another try
through Ape Nande to lead 16-10 and that’s where everything started going
“We were given unnecessary consecutive penalties and to add on to
that, the referee, from word on the ground, was a reserve grade referee who
disallowed three clear runaway tries in the second half,” Molsie
Molsie questioned why the Digicel Cup was allowing home side referees
to officiate matches when it was coming to a time when teams were desparately
fighting for every point and any percieved advantage a hosting side had,
especially with match officials, needed to be avoided.
“Why is PNGNRL
allowing homes side match officials to officiate matches when most of the teams
are close together on points? They should have neutral referees,” Molsi
Molsie alleged that the match was won by the referee and made calls to
the PNGNRL executives to clean up their act.
Molsi said the Papua New Guinea
National Rugby League, the body that runs the Digicel Cup competition, had to
sort out the travel arrangements for teams after the Muruks were subjected to a
series of connecting flights and road trips just to get from Mendi to Kokopo –
and all in the space of a day.
They travelled by road from Mendi to Hagen, then by plane to Goroka, then road again to Lae, then flew to Hoskins, before connecting to Tokua Airport, East New Britain.
THE Agmark Gurias have a score to settle with reigning champions Port Moresby
Vipers at the Kalabond ‘graveyard’ in Kokopo on Sunday.
With the Digicel Cup
rugby league competition winding down to the top eight challenge, die-hard
followers of the Gurias want some positive vibes. In a nutshell, revenge for
their 30-22 loss in their last meeting is on top of the list.
have had a mixture of form and while they are not at their renowned best,
five-game coach George Tobata will certainly want no prisoners in this no holds
This is an opportune time for Gurias skipper Travis Waninara
and former Kumul Rodney Pora to prove their worth.
The Gurias failed to
ignite and the Vipers took their feet away from them in an embarrassing defeat
last time around.
With the Vipers on the rise suffered a hiccup 12-10 loss
to the Mioks and would want to show that they are capable of defending their
title in 2014.
Vipers coach Leonard Tarum, pictured, cannot afford a loss
and will be looking to his engine-room that boasts former and current Kumuls in
props Enoch Maki and Nickson Kolo as well as converted backs Elijah Riyong and
skipper Richard Kambo to pound the Gurias defence.
The talented Ragi
brothers, Sebulon for the Vipers and Quinton for the Gurias will come face to
face for the second time.
Both are entrusted with the playmaking duties and
their battle will be a crucial one.
In other exciting matches around the
country, already tagged minor premiers the Lae Tigers can expect stiff
opposition from a determined Mendi Muruks in the double-header at the Rebiamul
Oval in Mount Hagen.
In the other clash, the Goroka Lahanis without their
spark in the engineroom, in Supa Kokote, will be toughening it out against the
Mt Hagen Eagles in their last match for the year.
Lahanis coach Peter
Warlock was given a show cause letter by Digicel Cup judiciary chairman David
Silovo for comments he made about the standard of refereeing in his side’s
16-14 win over the Simbu Lions.
The Hela Wigmen should overcome the Enga
Mioks, but will have to go through fire in Lae to get the win. The Mioks are
the dark horse for the finals with their hard, scrapping style and
In Kundiawa, the Gulf Isapea have nothing to lose against
the Simbu Lions.
But the Lions at home are an extremely difficult
proposition for any visiting team let alone the lowly Isapea.
Gerard Philip is be still smarting from the reprimand given to his coach, Hans
Kaybing during the week by the competition judiciary and will want a big win to
vindicate his team which will make the top eight.
THE Hela Wigmen are starting to prove they are premiership material in the Digicel Cup.
The Kemele-sponsored side claimed a major scalp in the glamour Agmark Gurias with their close 22-20 victory at the Rebiamul Oval in Mt Hagen on Sunday.
And to add to the wounds of the Gurias under new coach George Tobata, the Wigmen won without their strike players in playmaker Kewa Kili, dummy-half Charlie Wabo and former Kumuls Joseph Omai and George Moni.
Wigmen board chairman Andy Hetra, pictured, said it wasn’t an opportune time to test their depth in their playing stock, but it still paid off handsomely.
“The coaching staff decided to utilise their junior development players in Jeremy Ludwik and Gram Tiki on the wings, Paul Remzy at fullback, second row Lowi Maitabe and Tari product McKenzy Buka at halfback with rising star William Mone at five-eighth,” Hetra said,
“With the return of Stanton Albert from the PNG Under-19 tour also came off the bench with great affect,” he added. Hetra said they are all under 20 and best thing about it is they understand the structure and systems put in place by coach Stanley Hondina.
“It’s still early days yet, but a positive sign for the Wigmen for the future,” he added.
The Gurias who fielded an experienced pack with former Kumul Rodney Pora, Daniel Pai, Travis Waninara in the forwards and form centres Jackson Undie and Francis Paniu, were still not able to produce the form they are capable of.
However to the Gurias credit they kept pace with the Wigmen but unlike their past form, they are still not showing the grit in defence that they are known for.
This allowed the Wigmen to punch the wayward Guria defence at will to open holes for Ludwik, Tiki and live-wire dummy-half Weza Tenza, pictured, to take a handy 18-8 lead at half-time.
Despite the Gurias showing some fight following the break with tries Watson Boas and Waninara to take a 20-18 lead, they could not hold out the pacey Ludwik going in for his second try to seal the good win.
In the other match in Kundiawa, the TNA Simbu Lions continue their good form at their home-ground with an 8-4 win over the Prima/Dekenai Gulf Isapea at the Dickson Oval.
Meanwhile, Digicel Cup chief executive officer Hubert Warupi said Gulf Isapaea did not comply with the relevant process and therefore their cheating allegation levelled against Mt Hagen league officials was dismissed.
“I was advised on Sunday after game by Isapaea. Since judiciary chairman David Silovo was in Hagen, I instructed the Eagles and the Isapaea’s management to meet with Silovo and resolve the matter. The Eagles turned up while the Isapea did not,” Warupi said.
Warupi said no official complaint in writing was forwarded to PNGNational Rugby League, and as such the Isapea were deemed non-compliant with the with process and their case was dismissed.
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Downer Rugby League 9s World Cup
- PNG Kumuls 0 Australia 26
- PNG Kumuls 18 New Zealand Kiwis 18
- PNG Kumuls 23 USA Tomahawks 10
Pacific Test Results
201 9 - PNG Kumuls 28 Great Britain Lions 10
2019 - Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 20
2019 - PNG Kumls 6 Samoa 24
2018 - PNG Kumuls 26 Fiji Bati 14
2017 - PNG Kumuls 32 Cook Islands 22
2016 - PNG Kumuls 24 Fiji Bati 22
2015- Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 22
World Cup Results
Round 1 : PNG Kumuls 50 Wales 6
Round 2: PNG Kumuls 14 Ireland 6
Round 3 PNG Kumuls 64 USA 0
Quarter Finals : PNG Kumuls 6 England 36