While the East New Britain township has been confirmed as the yet-to-be-named PNG team’s venue to host its home games, a decision on where the club is to be based remains to be made.
Visiting Queensland teams to PNG will fly into Port Moresby on Friday and overnight in Kokopo for the Saturday games. They return to the nation’s capital the next day to catch the next earliest possible flight back to Australia.
Their travel, security and accommodation costs to Papua New Guinea are to be met by the PNG Rugby Football League – requirements that the PNG bid team had to agree to in order to be granted entry into the Queensland Intrust Super Cup competition.
However, trying to apply a similar arrangement for the PNG team if it was to be based in Port Moresby would be a logistically nightmare and not serve the purpose of really enjoying the benefits of a home ground.
It is also quite taxing on PNGRFL’s budget which makes Kokopo the best possible option.
A home ground advantage is expected to give the host side less fatigue associated with travelling long distances so that they are much fresher, physically and mentally focused on the impending game. And the PNG franchise would not fully benefit from this unless it is based in Kokopo.
PNGRFL acting chief executive Brad Tassell has to provide the best possible advice to the team and PNGRFL board, and based on those factors would lean towards Kokopo.
He could not be reached for comments yesterday.
This is despite the fact that Port Moresby is hub of all activity including where all the major media organizations headquarters including likely major sponsor SP Brewery’s head office is located.
But until work on the Port Moresby Lloyd Robson Oval, which is supposed to be undergoing major reconstruction works soon, is ready in two years time, Kokopo seems the logical, business sound option to base the PNG franchise.