​Paul Barrière Trophy visits Bulolo

The Rugby League World Cup trophy is on its 30-day tour of the country, with the Bulolo-Wau leg sponsored by Harmony Gold.

The Paul Barrière Trophy was first taken around Bulolo Town as people lined the streets for a glimpse before it made a brief stop at the PNG Forest Products head office.

It was then taken to Harmony Gold’s Hidden Valley mine where company staff took photos and met with the tour team, made up of Oil Search staff, PNG National Rugby League and media.

Hidden Valley general manager, Gary Davies, said it was an historic occasion for the World Cup trophy to visit the mine staff and the people of Bulolo District.

Two former PNG Kumuls players who work at the Hidden Valley mine, Robert Sio and Ati Lomutopa, were also acknowledged for their contribution to the game.

The Trophy was then taken to Wau Rugby League Oval for the main ceremony, where traditional dancers, students and residents welcomed the team. Lead organiser Sampson Bonai thanked Harmony Gold for sponsoring the trip and Oil Search for being the major sponsor.

Touring manager and Oil Search general manager stakeholder engagement, Leon Buskins, said Oil Search was proud to sponsor the trophy tour around PNG, where the first rugby league game was played in the 1930s.

Former Kumuls players in Bulolo and Wau were present and were acknowledged for their continued work behind the scenes to strengthen and grow rugby league in the region.

The trophy was taken back to Lae to continue its journey into the Highlands region.

The Paul Barrière Trophy is awarded to the victorious team of each tournament's final. It is named after Paul Barrière, president of the Fédération Française de Rugby à XIII from 1947 to 1955.

Sophie Yaruso