Kupun Wisil, brother of Pacific Sprint Queen Toea Wisil says that his decision to join the JPG Whagi Tumbe coaching staff this season has truly paid off and he is excited at the prospects of a 2021 premiership win for his home team this coming Sunday.
The athletics turned rugby league trainer has been working behind the scenes with coaching staff from a few other Digicel Cup franchises since 2013 with the most prevalent club being the Lae Snax Tigers rugby league club where he spent a total of seven years playing supporting roles to the coaching staff there.
Wisil decided to take a break from his already budding athletics career in 2013 and switch codes to rugby league by becoming a member of the Lae Snax Tigers coaching team and has not looked back since.
“In 2013, I decided to take a break from athletics and divert my focus to the game that every Papua New Guinean is so passionate about and has come to love and that is rugby.”
“Before that, I had been representing the country in athletics since I first entered into sports at the Grassroots Games (now known as the Pacific Games) in 2003,” Wisil said.
From 2016 onwards, Wisil has fully committed to the rugby league code and has been instrumental in assisting the Tigers win 3 premierships (2016, 2017 & 2019) and the Bintangor Goroka Lahanis win 1 premiership in 2018.
Last year, Wisil took to the finals yet again with the Lae Snax Tigers however, they were unlucky for another premiership win as they went down to the reigning premieres the Kroton Hela Wigmen.
This year, Wisil said that his coaching team currently being led by rookie coach Baundo Abba and Head Trainer Ezekiel Ben, has had a lot of work to do in terms of grooming the boys most of whom are unknown players making their debuts in the Digicel Cup.
“Most of the boys on the team in the likes of Michael Tom who forms part of our forward packs and Bobby Joel who has been creating a lot of impacts off the bench, are only new and have had little experience as far as Digicel Cup is concerned and so we have have tried our best to train and discipline them into getting this far.”
Wisil said having a young and inexperienced team this year, they were only looking to make it as far as the knockout finals however, having made it to the 2021 Grand Final is indeed a dream come true for the team.
“When we started out this year, we challenged ourselves that we will make it as far as the finals only and then next year is when we will win the Digicel Cup because our team is still a fairly young team.”
“However, things have turned out to be different for us and we now find ourselves having a chance at the Cup in such a short time,” Wisil stated.
Wisil said he has full confidence in Joe Frank who has been with the JPG Whagi Tumbe since debuting in the Digicel Cup in 2015 that he will lead the boys to their first ever Grand Final victory and is looking forward to another great performance from the boys.
The man who has been working behind the scenes of premiership winning clubs said that there is no secret to winning and that every win is a direct result of hard work in the form of training, commitment and discipline.
Wisil further added that this Grand Final game is dedicated to the whole of Jiwaka Province and that they will get out there and make the people proud.
“Jiwaka is only a few years old and it has taken us up to 10 years for us to have our own province.”
“Just like we are a young province, we are going into the Grand Final as a young team to take on a more experienced team and so we are not taking things lightly,” Wisil said.
“It is however our wish that our supporters and fans get behind us in the true spirit of the game and support as unified Papua New Guineans,” Wisil added.
The JPG Whagi Tumbe will be led by rookie coach Baundo Abba and Captain Joe ‘6 cylinder’ Frank as they take on the crowd favourites Lae Snax Tigers in the Grand Final clash on Sunday.
Photo credits: RJTotsia Photography&Media