By Sylvester Gawi – EM TV, Port Moresby
The 2015 Coca Cola Ipatas cup season started last Saturday, at the Wau rugby League oval in Bulolo, Morobe province.
Bulolo MP, Sam Basil and Obura Wonenara MP, Mera Kipefa kicked off the Northern challenge, which also signified the start of the nationwide competition.
Eights teams are taking part in the Northern challenge, with the first round completed on Sunday.
Hundreds of residents from the small, historical town of Wau gathered at the rugby league oval to witness the official kick off of the 2015 Ipatas cup.
Bulolo MP, Sam Basil, was joined by Obura–Wonenara MP Mera Mine, Ipatas Cup CEO Timothy Lepa and sponsors.
For a small town where, significantly, rugby league was first played in Papua New Guinea, the Ipatas cup brought a lot of excitement to the people.
Into its 16th year running, the Ipatas cup still maintains position as the ‘leading off-season competition’ in Papua New Guinea.
Obura-Wonenara MP, Mera Mine, who is also coaching his district team, the O-WAN Titans, says the Ipatas cup is the way forward to develop rugby talent in the country.
The O-wan Titans, Kamkumung Crushers and Bulolo Miners are some teams that have produced players for the semi professional competitions in the country.
New teams taking part in the Morobe Challenge are East Taraka Redbacks, Wau Brothers and Blue Heelers.
This weekend will see round two played in Lae, with the finals to be staged in Wau in two weeks’ time.