Digicel Cup

Sepik Pride’s exclusion explained

Sepik Pride co-founder Bradley Simon, who has been the main man behind the birth of the East Sepik franchise, confirms that EMK Sepik Pride was demoted from the semi-professional Rugby League Competition on the grounds of ‘Governance and Finance.’

“The main two reasons behind this decision are Governance and financial capacity and it all goes to our board not getting governance in place as soon as possible; also the non-payment of the naming rights fees. That got us at the end,” said Simon.

Waghi Tumbe return

They return after missing out this season, due to breach of participation agreement set between the team and the PNG NRLC.

PNG NRLC Board Member, Lorna McPherson confirmed the participation of 11 franchises from the 2023 competition, announcing the exclusion of the Sepik Pride franchise for season 2024 and the return of the Waghi Tumbe.

The 2024 participating teams are:

Grand final rematch

Although the Gurias had a scrappy win last weekend, the team will aim to polish up and come much stronger into this match. 

In the match against Vipers last weekend, the crafty little number 9, Nathen Tete, delivered a good service from dummy half. 

He was quick out of ruck into defensive line causing havoc in a tiring Vipers middle. He will be the one to look out for if the game is to break open in the middle. 

Gurias coach laud Muruks performance

Gurias coach, Francis Ray said his boys were doing well in attack and defense until Gurias prop, Daniel Pai, was sinbinned for a high shot in the second half of the round three Digicel ExxonMobil Cup match.

The Gurias’ lack of composure cost them numerous try-scoring opportunities.

On the other hand, Mendi Muruks head coach, Roderick Puname, admitted that their first half did not go as planned but he was happy that the team managed to work together, which saw them score a converted try in the second half.


While training has been intense over the past two months, a lot of focus has been on endurance and conditioning including field and gym sessions before final trials this weekend.

Team Manager Mapua Tamtu said they have plans for two more trial games starting this Saturday between a select side from the Kokopo 9s and the development squad. The best players from this Saturday’s trial will be added to the main Gurias squad.

Tamtu also revealed the Gurias next trial match is against Cutters tentatively set for next week in Kimbe.

Franchise trainers upskill for new season

The workshop concluded with the presentation of certificates to the participants at the Santos National Football stadium lounge on Sunday.

Upskilling trainers with the right knowledge and the latest technics on how to conduct training sessions with their respective teams has been a far cry for years for most Digicel Cup teams.

The PNG National Rugby League Competition (PNGNRLC) facilitated the training for the 12 participants.

K200,000 boost for Kimbe Cutters

Acting Provincial Administrator, Leo Mapmani presented the K200,000 cheque to the Cutters management team.

For the past five years, the Kimbe Cutters have received support from its naming rights sponsor, the West New Britain Provincial Government through Governor Sasindran Muthuvel including the former Talasea District Development Authority.

Top Of The Table Clash

While both teams have remained consistent in their winning ways for the majority of the rounds, this year Muruks are looking to upset Gurias on their home turf.

According to local rugby league analysts, tomorrow's top-of-the-table blockbuster fits the bill for a sneak preview to the September grand final.
While it’s a Gurias home game, Muruks have a better for and against striking rate, winning most of their games with over the 30 points margin, and could start as favourites.

Vipers Ready For Gurias

The heat is on for the Digicel Cup rugby league competition with another triple header set for this weekend in Port Moresby.

The Vipers-Gurias clash was initially scheduled for tomorrow, 30th July in Kokopo but relocated to the Santos National Football Stadium, Port Moresby as part of the triple header.

As the competition heads into the business end of the season with five matches remaining, Vipers have slipped back into the top 6 after last week’s win over Mt Hagen Eagles.

POM hosts Digicel Cup triple header

According to alternative arrangement, matches will be played in Lae, Goroka and Port Moresby on Sunday 1st July, 2022.

For the Port Moresby fans, the Santos National Football Stadium will host a triple header this Sunday with the Moni Plus NCDC Port Moresby Vipers playing the Agmark Rabaul Gurias at 11am.