The Lae Biscuit Company sponsored Snax 9s has become a growing annual event in the Papua New Guinea rugby league calendar attracting a massive 28 teams so far for the 2020 challenge.
The confirmed teams participating will be announced early next week for the 4-days 2020 Snax 9s challenge set for 17th -20th December 2020 at the Lae Rugby League oval, Morobe province.
Since the first tournament in 2014, 2020 marks 7 years in running of the Snax 9s which is the primary selection avenue for the three times Digicel Cup champion and 2020 Runner Up, the Lae Snax Tigers.
The growth of the Snax 9s has become a household tournament in PNG thus every year has seen increased participation.
Tournament Director Steven Malum said while they try their best to include everyone with the main aim being all about the formation of the Tigers team, maintaining a balance of participation results in better quality of talents showcased.
Malum said hosted in Lae being the corridor to the highlands and the Island region as well the rest of PNG the Snax 9s has been able to cater for a larger interest of PNG as a whole.
Malum said Snax 9s has grown from a 16 teams inaugural challenge to now reaching 28 teams and climbing.
‘’The participation increased from 16 teams in 2014 then 20, 24 and now 28 thereafter,’’ Malum said.
Malum said apart from the core aim that is all about the Tigers make up is the opportunity for other franchises to scout players as well the growing avenue for the upcoming generation of rugby league to showcase.
‘’We want to be fair and give the opportunity to other franchises as well to participate and scout potential players,’’ Malum said.
Malum said most importantly as well is the strict adherence to discipline throughout the tournament like previous years.
He said on the other hand Covid-19 cancelled local seasons nationwide and the Snax 9s is aware of this thus brought together the rugby community to remain positive looking forward to a new normal lifestyle next year (2021) and years to come.
Malum added it’s been a tough year for sports and rugby league in PNG especially dealing with Covid-19 and with the tournament scheduled a week ahead of the Christmas week, he hope the Snax 9s unites everyone at the local frontier heading into the Christmas period to give their best looking forward to next (2021) season.
‘’We keep on hosting the Snax 9s heading into the seventh year as it’s been a successive challenge for us in the Tigers otherwise we wouldn’t have been putting in that much effort and spending so much.
The 9s concept has proven to be more reactive and quicker response time as well ticks the mind to think fast and execute better.
Players who pose these traits have the upper hand when drafted into the 13 aside team game,’’ Malum said.
Registration and consent forms have been sent out to participating teams and a final medical check will be conducted once teams arrive in Lae prior to taking the field.
Teams are reminded that a full team consist of 20 men, and at anyone game only three Digicel Cup players can take the field.
‘’You can have 10 Digicel cup players or more in your team but only three will be able to take the field per game,’’ Malum said.