The competition was moved forward to December 2018, instead of its usual start in February, to make way for the other national and international competitions.
Coca-Cola Ipatas Cup CEO, Timothy Lepa, says the competition has been progressing well despite its many challenges.
Bearing in mind that other semi-professional rugby league competitions are hosted in the country, the CEO says they expect to run the grand final next month in Lae.
“If we go back and start our competition in February, we will give more problems to all the Digicel Cup teams because most teams in the Highlands recruit from this competition,” he said.
“That’s why we moved the game forward to December. December, January and we should finish in the last week of January and first week of February we should have the grand final.”
Lepa said so far, many of the challenges have been completed, including Western and Eastern Highlands, Simbu, Jiwaka, Kainantu, NCD and Morobe.
Enga and Southern Highlands challenges will conclude this weekend and in due course, while the New Guinea Islands, East Sepik and Western challenges are set to go, with an excited CEO saying the inclusion of these centres will add a different dimension to the competition.
24 gold passes will be given out with 18 teams winning the gold pass to qualify while 6 mercy passes will be handed to teams whom the CEO deems have legitimate reasons to progress.
(CCIC CEO, Timothy Lepa)