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Thursday, June 27 2019 @ 08:02 pm ACST

Grand Finals and more in PNG

Oceania

It’s grand final time of year and over the last couple of weeks leagues are wrapping up around Australia – and for that matter in Papua New Guinea. Saturday week ago the Lae Grand Final was held whilst the weekend just gone the big AFL PNG Esiloan Grand Final Day at the Murray Barracks Oval in Port Moresby was run and won.

Esiloan sponsored trophies and medallions.

In Port Moresby a big day of footy was scheduled on Saturday starting off at 11am with the Women’s play off followed by the ‘A’ Reserves; Oldies v Masters and finally at 2.30pm the main game.

It’s grand final time of year and over the last couple of weeks seasons are wrapping up around Australia – and for that matter in Papua New Guinea. Saturday week ago the Lae Grand Final was held whilst the weekend just gone the big AFL PNG Esiloan Grand Final Day at the Murray Barracks Oval in Port Moresby was run and won.

In Port Moresby a big day of footy was scheduled on Saturday starting off at 11am with the Women’s play off followed by the ‘A’ Reserves; Oldies v Masters and finally at 2.30pm the main game.

The first game saw the defending champions the University Tigers going back to back - winning the women’s title over the MoniPlus Taurama Suns. Best on ground was Taiva Lavai, captain of the victorious Tigers. The Tigers had won their way to the GF with a solid 18 pt win in the preliminary final over the Lamana Dockers (2.7.19 to 0.1.1). For the Suns Bella Grant, Susan Savere, Benita Mai and Maureen Bauwase tried hard. The Central Bombers are a relatively new side but coached by AFL PNG veteran Overa Gibson they showed that they had learned plenty in a short time and held out the Bomana Cats for a deserved premiership victory. The Bombers had earned their place in the decider with a narrow 6 pt win in the prelim over the Defence Hawks (2.4.16 to 1.4.10). Leading into the match coach Gibson said “We didn’t expect to come this far, win or lose, it doesn’t really matter. We know they will be a hard team to beat. But it will be a real bonus for us and the Gereka community as a whole if we win this one.” Bomana coach Nathan Napkai recognised the great discipline and commitment of his improving opposition and paid credit to Gibson for his leadership. For the record the Bombers got up 4.4.28 over the Cats 1.10.16.

Pre game promotional poster.

The Main game saw the defending champions the Lamana Dockers coached by Richard Aupae take on the MoniPlus Taurama Suns coached by Connie Papau. The Dockers had won their way through to the Grand Final the previous week with a hard fought prelim final win over the Gordons Kokofas (8.6.54 to 5.7.37) having had to dig deep in the final quarter after scores were locked on 5.5 apiece at the last break. The judges had the Dockers as the underdogs, as Peter Sevara Jr in the National stated “The MoniPlus-sponsored Suns have the aura of a champion side with the only thing missing being the silverware”.

The Suns captain Jeffery Namete has been a star this season and along with PNG Mossies team mate Ferdinand Musi – would be the players to watch. The Dockers, skippered by Stanis Isu, would hope for a big day from Sebastian Gelu and up forward from Emmanual Tupia. The match was anything but a walk over and the favourites the Suns had to work hard for a narrow 6 pt win over the slightly wasteful Dockers – 9.5.59 to 7.11.53. The healthy crowd and attendant corporates (sponsors) enjoyed a fine match showcasing dazzling skills and gritty toughness. The game was tight all day after the Dockers jumped out early and by the final quarter the heavens had opened and the going was particularly tough in wet conditions.

Dockers Suns
3.1.19 1.1.7
6.1.374.5.29
7.5.47 8.5.53
7.11.53 9.5.59

Some of the crowd - seeking a vantage point.

The Dockers were getting pegged back through the second term and headed by the last change. As the wet weather took hold the Dockers created chances but were unable to convert whilst the solitary score for the Suns for the term – a goal to the ever dangerous Mong – was the sealer.

The Gordons Kokofas FC may have missed the final play off but they aren't standing still off the field with a near bus provided by Ela Motors and new off field apparel supplied by Oil Min. The growth of these clubs as vital parts of local communities is proven out by the sponsorship associations being established.

The previous week AFL Lae held their season decider at the Eriku Oval (Saturday Sept 13th) – which saw the Salamander Power take on the Sa’lle Dogs. There was a curtain raiser match between the AFL Lae women’s teams. The big game saw the Power 7.12.54 overcome the Dogs 7.9.51 in a classic grand final encounter. The AFL Lae gained great assistance from key sponsors Theodist Lae and Coca Cola Amatil. The intervening week saw other activity in AFL PNG circles with the 39th Independence Celebrations taking place during the 2 day Coca Cola National Junior Championship for the Southern region. The tournament kicked off on Monday Sept 15 and one outcome would be the selection of players from Port Moresby and Kerema for the national squads and Academy for 2015. The championship included matches against four teams - West Bulldogs, East Lions, South Cats & North Tigers - and testing in height, kicking, sprints and a 2 kilometres run. This week the attention has moved to Kimbe for the NGI region national juniors.

It’s been a big year in AFL PNG given the International Cup success – and locally there’s plenty going on as the footy community continues to grow including gaining valuable sponsorship and broader recognition.

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