The Digicel Cup Awards last night saw sponsors, players, team officials, supporters and invited guests gather at the Oil Search National Football Stadium to witness the awards presentation.
Mr Tsandis Saka, Chairman of the PNGRFL thanked everyone who had been a part of the process in making the Digicel Cup to be what it is today and paid homage to leaders past and present who have contributed to the development of the game in one way or another.
Mr Saka also thanked the major sponsors Digicel Group who have been supporting the game for 11 years now and said that PNGRFL is blessed to have such a reputable organization leading the way in growing and developing the game here in PNG.
“Rugby league has grown from strength to strength over the years and to date it has become such a great platform to develop our young men and so it is only right that sponsors do get on board and support not just rugby but other sports as well around the country,” Saka said.
He also thanked each of the Digicel Cup franchises with their players and management teams alike for staying true and committed towards staging a successful 2021 season.
Highlight of the night was the awards presentation where a bulk of the awards went to players from the PRK Mendi Muruks as well as the Grand Final contenders the JPG Waghi Tumbe.
Rookie coach Baundo Abba who took out the Coach of the Year Award said that he is thankful for the experience this year as it has taught him to step outside of his comfort zone to lead the boys this far.
“As a young coach with no proper training on coaching skills, it’s been a great learning experience for me and at the same time a very humbling one for me as well, given that we are also a young province and to be here now in the finals is so overwhelming,” said Coach Abba.
Four of his boys in the likes of Joe Frank (Centre of the Year), Tiger Emere (Prop of the Year), David Joseph (Half-back of the Year) and Supa Kokote (Lock of The Year) also took out awards.
The other awards were taken by Joe Stanley of MoniPlus NCDC Vipers (Fullback of the Year), Junior Igila (Tryscorer of the Year) and Allan Simbiri (Goal Scorer of the Year) both from the Kroton Hela Wigmen team, Joshua Lau of Lae Snax Tigers who took out the Payer of the Year Award and Leon Undupia (Winger of the Year), Wesa Tenza (Hooker of the Year) and Nelson Yei (Second Rower of the Year) from the Mendi Muruks. All three boys from Mendi Muruks were unable to make it to the Awards Night due to delays in flight schedules.
The Club of the Year Award went to the CPG Dabaris while Ms Lorna McPherson was given the “Full Time Reserve Award” in recognition of her tireless dedication and efforts in promoting the code of rugby league throughout the past 11 years.