Tournament director, James Meninga, said the inaugural K50,000 Charles Lee Cup tournament specifically targets unknown teams from the remote areas of Western Highlands.
Announced on 28th October 2020, the four-zone challenge will see 12 teams bring their best to the grand final play offs starting Thursday January 14th to the 17th.
While the top eight teams were given gold pass entries, four unknown rural teams were given mercy passes. Meninga said this is for exposure purposes.
He added that it was the prerogative of the tournament organisers to include the four, cementing the bigger motive to spread the influence of rugby into remote PNG.
The four teams were not part of the 4 zone challenges but competed well ahead of the staging of the district’s challenge.
“We bear in mind that such teams as well from our remote settings get very little or no exposure at all. We all love rugby but we can’t expect to be spoon-fed by the PNG Rugby Football League every time,” stated Meninga.
The Charles Lee Cup grand final play-off teams are Mapo Cowboys, Kuntz Royals representing Dei district, Mul Norths and Mul Frost RFC representing Mul-Baiyer, Newtown Brothers and Kum Blockers from Hagen Central, T-Mile Prides and Mogu Scorpions of Tambul-Nebilyer district.
The four added teams are Ukini 1 Pythons, Baiyer Cowboys, 1237 Vikings and Ukini 2 Rupuna Lions.
The event is named after the sole sponsor and local businessman, Charles Lee, who is from the Ramdi tribe of Mul-Baiyer and Lumusa districts.