Sunday, April 4, 2010
Four nations rugby league challenge set
Tok Mix Dogs against Lealea tussle in the Masta Mark Easter Cup challenge in Port Moresby. The competition involves teams from NCD off-season leagues and Central province. The teams are playing for K25,000 prizemoney sponsored by Masta Mark principal Kelly Aiyok and is being held at Hohola and Kone Tigers fields. The competition Started on Tues last week and will end tomorrow. Picture by JOSEPH IVAHARIA.
THE draws for the 2010 Four Nations rugby league challenge has been announced. England will face co-hosts New Zealand at Wellington's Westpac Stadium in the opening match of the tournament while Papua New Guinea will play Australia at Parramatta Stadium, Australia.
The seven-match event in Australia and New Zealand starts on Oct 23, with the final in Brisbane on Nov 13.
Melbourne stages the Australia-England clash on Oct 31 and England play Papua New Guinea in Auckland.
That match takes place at a new-look 50,000-capacity Eden Park on Nov 6 and is part of a double-header as holders Australia play New Zealand. There are also games in Rotorua and Parramatta.
The inaugural tournament in 2009 culminated in Australia beating England 46-16 at Elland Road.
And Australia Rugby League chairman Colin Love said he was confident the 2010 edition would prove as popular, adding: "The first Four Nations series was an overwhelming success at every level.
"The excitement among English crowds and international television audiences again demonstrated the tremendous appetite that exists for international rugby league.
"The rivalry between Australia, New Zealand and England couldn't be more intense and PNG have proven time and again that they can mix it with anyone on the day.
"This is going to be a fabulous contest that will bring together the best players in the game over three incredible weeks of matches."
Organisers are hoping to set a new crowd record at Eden Park, which has been re-developed to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup, topping the 47,363 for the 1988 World Cup final.
"This double-header will be the biggest rugby league event in New Zealand since 1988 and could become the biggest of all time," said New Zealand Rugby League chief executive Jim Doyle.
"It will be a tremendous moment for the game to have rugby league's major powers all playing at the same ground on the same day.
"It's also a huge honour for our game that we'll actually be giving the new-look Eden Park one of its first major attractions."
2010 Four Nations schedule:
Oct 23: New Zealand v England, Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
Oct 24: Australia v Papua New Guinea, Parramatta Stadium.
Oct 30: New Zealand v Papua New Guinea, International Stadium, Rotorua.
Oct 31: Australia v England, Melbourne (venue tbc).
Nov 6: England v Papua New Guinea, Eden Park, Auckland.
Nov 6: New Zealand v Australia, Eden Park, Auckland.
Nov 13: Final, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.