Melanesian Club Championship launched

PORT MORESBY, August 20 – The winners of Papua New Guinea’s Digicel Cup competition and Fiji’s Vodafone Cup competition will face off in Port Moresby in October in the inaugural Rugby League Melanesian Club Championship.
Following in the footsteps of the World Club Challenge, long contested by NRL and Super League clubs, the premiers of PNG and Fiji’s national leagues will now play off for a regional title. The match will take place at Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby on Saturday 10 October 2015 at 7pm.
Six clubs remain in contention to win PNG’s Digicel Cup – Lae Snax Tigers, TNA Simbu Lions, Hela Wigmen, Agmark Rabaul Gurias, Mendi Muruks and Mount Hagen Eagles. The Digicel Cup Grand Final will take place on Saturday 5 September, and the winner will progress to the Melanesian Club
Championship. Eight clubs are battling it out to win Fiji’s Vodafone Cup – Fair Trade Makoi Bulldogs, Saru Dragons,
Nadera Panthers, Sabeto Roosters, Nabua Broncos, Nadi Eels, Kinoya Sea Eagles and Burenitu Cowboys – and the winner, who will go on to contest the Melanesian Club Championship, will be determined in the Vodafone Cup Grand Final on Saturday 19 September.
“This match will be an annual marquee rugby league event in the region that will promote and enhance our respective national competitions, give the local teams something extra to aspire to, and provide an international competition for our elite domestic teams and players to compete in,” said Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) Chairman, Mr Sandis Tsaka.
“This competition has the potential to provide another pathway for our elite local players to showcase their skills and talents on the international stage and hopefully attract the attention of international talent scouts. It will not only promote rugby league development in the two countries, but also enhance people-to-people relationships between our rugby league players and officials in both nations.
“I would like to thank the Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL), the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF), the PNG Digicel Cup, the Fiji Vodafone Cup, the major sponsors of both
competitions (Digicel PNG and Vodafone Fiji) and the PNG Sports Foundation for getting behind the concept and supporting it.” The Chairman of PNG’s Digicel Cup, Mr Sudhir Guru, said: "I thank the PNGRFL for developing and formalising the Melanesian Club Championship concept, which will greatly promote our national Digicel Cup program. This concept will provide a good motivation and incentive for our national franchises to aspire towards a high quality international competition for our players and officials." Speaking on behalf of Digicel, Head of Marketing Eva Jando acknowledged Mr Tsaka for his insight and direction in promoting rugby league in PNG, as well as regionally.
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