Papua New Guinea National Rugby League general manager Hubert Warupi said that the PNG NRL board had initially mooted the pooled format last November, as an alternative format based on the heavy costs involved in transporting teams around the country and unavailability of home venues for Mioks, Vipers and Isapea.
Mioks home ground is undergoing renovation, and with Lloyd Robson Oval demolished both Vipers and Isapea are without a home ground.
In the traditional format Mioks, Isapea and Vipers would have to host nine home games each.
The pool format reduces the number of home games to four and the amount of time for teams travelling for away matches.
“A competition of this size costs in excess of K4 million to run and with the bulk of the funds generated through franchise registrations, the NRL has an obligation to ensure the country’s premier sporting competition kicks off without delay and inconvenience to the franchises and fans of the competition,” Warupi said.
The new format will have the 10 teams divided into two pools of five teams.
Each pool will contain teams based on rank from the 2013 season with Pool 1 consisting of the Port Moresby Vipers, Agmark Gurias, Lae Tigers, Hela Wigmen and Gulf Isapea and Pool 2 having Goroka Lahanis, Enga Mioks, Simbu Lions, Mendi Muruks and Mt Hagen Eagles.
However due to unavailability of venues in Port Moresby, the Vipers and Lahanis will interchange.
The competition will have three rounds of normal competition, with the pool teams play each other for two rounds followed by a cross over in round three.
The cross over will feature the top three teams of each pool play only against teams from the other pool.
There will be a consolation round for the bottom placed teams to play off for a chance to enter the finals race.
The finals system will be adopted from the popular Australian AFL and NRL top eight finals system, which will be determined by the top eight teams after the third round based on total accumulated points.
The interesting thing about the competition is that although teams are pooled, the third round sees teams from each pool play against each other and instead of the traditional five team finals, there will be an eight-team finals race.