The much anticipated rugby league season will kick-off on Sunday after the inaugural launch of the newly named Digicel ExxonMobil CUP 2023 season.
In his opening remarks, PNG National Rugby League General Manager Leith Isaac thanked all sponsors and the 12 participating franchise teams including the naming rights sponsors. “This competition wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for you all, and I thank you for that.”
Co-naming Rights Sponsor, Digicel PNG Senior Vice President Lorna McPherson said they are proud to continue to sponsor the sport of rugby league and to grow new competition through the Digicel ExxonMobil Cup.
“McPherson said, as sponsors, not only do we sponsor the Cup but we also sponsor the Kumuls, the Orchids and the Hunters and we know that Exxon has that same vision as we do to grow and develop young raw talents out there.”
McPherson said it’s a privilege to be co-naming rights sponsors and acknowledged ExxonMobil PNG for coming on board with the same goals and visions to create development pathways for young talented players.
She also welcomed the new comers, the EMK Sepik Pride Rugby League Club.
“The Cup is a platform for young talented players and this year, we got a new team which is the Sepik Prides. And there are more opportunities for the game having youngsters like this to flourish.”
Rugby League is the number one sport in the country and it will continue to be especially, through the new NRLC plan and the high performance pathways, players will have that chance to develop their talents and make it in the big leagues.
“This is one of the best plans and now we have to execute it to make it work, said McPherson.”
New Co-Naming Rights Sponsor, ExxonMobil PNG Vice President-Production Mr. Scott Sandlin said, by investing in rugby league through this high performance programs, were not creating opportunities for the development of new players but are hoping to instill values as well.
“Values that will last a life time and will go beyond rugby league. Hard work, discipline, dedication, respect and personal integrity. We have partnered with Justin Olam as our first PNG LNG Community ambassador and Justin is a great example of what such good things can happen through having this values.”
Sandlin said, they are excited to work alongside PNG NRL and Digicel to grow the Cup in the next three years.
Meanwhile, a double header match at the Santos National Football Stadium, Sepik Pride v Gulf Isou and the Moni Plus Port Moresby Vipers will host the Mt Hagen Eagles.
In round one’s other double header at Lae Rugby League Ground, the Mendi Muruks will face Kimbe Cutters while the Lae Tigers host Central Dabaris.
And the Goroka Lahanis will host defending premiers Hela Wigmen at the National Sports Institute in the Eastern Highlands capital while Enga Mioks will host the Rabaul Gurias at Aipus Oval in Wabag, Enga.