The drawing of top players from the Digicel Cup is deemed to be depleting their stocks to
run a viable competition.
The PNGNRL, which runs the Digicel Cup is an
independent body, self-financed and managed solely by the franchises and
business houses appointed board and management.
Board chairman Sudhir
Guru yesterday made it clear to PNG rugby league followers nationwide and abroad
that until the sports governing body defines clearly where the PNGNRL fits in
their structure, there would be no player movement both ways.
“On top of that
the PNGNRL wants to know issues like what resources will the PNGRFL provide and
what do they take, infrastructures, referee’s and players…there must be a very
defined role as to where we stand if we are to come under one umbrella,” Guru
“We have not placed sanctions, we agreed for the Hunters initially to
take 25 to 30 players and they did that anyway without any notification.”
“You are either a Hunter or a Digicel Cup player,” Guru maintained.
said the board believed it was not in the best interests of promoting those new
players that have filled in the gaps for those Hunters players and those new
ones that have broken through because of the void, by allowing Hunters players
back to play for their clubs.
“Until such time where there are over 100
Hunters players on their roster, then the status quo will remain until an
amicable solution is agreed upon between all parties concerned.”
at this stage there was no clear demarcation set by the PNGRFL as to the Digicel
Cup being used to draw its players from.
“Don’t get us wrong, we support the
PNGRFL and its new way forward under board chairman Sandis Tsaka, but we are a
self-funded entity with business interests that have played a caretaker role for
the inter-city competition for the past 20 years.”
Guru said that it was not
the board’s view to be seen as creating a bottle-neck for the rugby league
pathway, we just want to ensure there are proper guidelines set and for that to
happen the PNGRFL has already been tasked to offer a solution. Guru confirmed
that they had had recent talks with Tsaka and basically told the PNGRFL to
define the relationship as the franchises and business houses that hold up the
Digicel Cup spend in the region of K20 million a year on running the
He said they had suggested that a workshop be staged where all
parties can share ideas with the aim of working together. When queried on the
issue, Tsaka said they do respect the PNGNRL board’s issues with regards to the
loss of marquee players based on the belief that they need to run a quality
competition to maintain a high standard.
“We understand the predicament and
are working to address it,” Tsaka said.
Tsaka said the issue was a major
concern for the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored Hunters who do not have an
under-20 competition or junior programme and no feeder clubs like other teams in
the Queensland Cup competition.
He confirmed that they hope to resolve the
issue as soon as possiblewith the aim to strengthen the working relationship
between the PNGRFL and PNGNRL.