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PCNC Biggest Formal Competition in Country

Posted by Near the Hoop on November 27, 2016 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

With ninety one teams actively participating week in week out in the Private Companies Netball Competition, the PCNC easily takes on the title of the diggest formal competition of any sport in the country.

Played each Sunday at the the Rita Flynn Indoor Netball Stadium, the PCNC starts off as early as 9:00am and ends at approximately 5:00pm in the evening.  154 Divisions with 6 teams each means there is not much time for muching about at teh interchange or at fulltime to ensure all teams have a decent run.

Amazingly this season has started of with a real zest and the future looks good as both admin, management and umpire farternities work in tandum to make the whole thing work.

A new exective headed bu by Kori Toua from Hanuabada has looked to instill some transparency dicipline to the competitions operations which has been welcomed by the rank and file and still more want to join.  

There ar limitations to how much can be done with only the indoor facilities but that is still being decided on but for now it manages with 14 divisions and six teams to a division.

Alotau to host 2015 National Champioships

Posted by Near the Hoop on July 30, 2015 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Netball PNG has confirmed that Alotau will host the 2015 National Championships. The eastern most tip of the southern conference of netball in PNG is expecting an influx of the netball fraternity to converge on the picturesque township during September this year and is preparing itself and its facilities for the fanfare.


Alotau has hosted fairly successful national tournaments in the past but this year will be a lot more technical with the quality of the game having had a real jolt and the demands of international competition the likes of the Pacific Games and so on, having direcly an impact on how the game is now played.


The Pacific Games itself has been a real distraction to the organisation and build up for Championship tournament and dates have still not been set just two months out from the event.  Organisers when contacted were upbeat about the whole thing commenting that the ANA woudl be ready for the event.  Typically Papua New Guinean about it all numbers and attendees still have not been confirmed even now.

Alotau have faily lucky at selections as well with the two selected from the Championships in Madang in 2012 going on to acutally represent PNG with the Pepe's in the PNS and other tournaments.  It is a reflection of how the Association has been run in Milne Bay and the talent pool that despite it being one of the lesser considered Associations in the country.  Netball is clearly the most played female sport in that province even ahead of soccer.


An annoucnement is expected soo from Netball PNG soon with repect to details of this years Championships.

Digicel will again most likely be the main sponsor for 2015.


Lagatoi Complete Sucessful Tourney

Posted by Near the Hoop on July 16, 2011 at 11:19 PM Comments comments (0)


Lagatoi (Hiri East) Netball Association held their competition tournament last week as part of their selection process for the National Championships, ending the tournament successfully with a full round of games and finals for the senior and masters divisions on Friday afternoon.


Six groups were represented at the tournament, Korobosea, Kauka, Ladeara, Ragunas, Gereka and Absco.




Played at the main field at Sabama LNA were forced to mark out two courts at the far end of the clearing. The Juniors played out their tournament Monday to Wednesday and the Seniors, Thursday and Friday.  It never dampened the desire of participants who under trying conditions played some decent netball. From all indications some real prospects will make their mark at the championships in the Junior divisions for Lagatoi.


According to officials, Lagatoi will field a sizable contingent for the championships.  Two teams per junior age division and two for each senior division is expected to be named for the October event.


Curious enough the Lagatoi representative on the National Federation was never present at all during tournament.

Too Big, Too Strong - Fiji Takes Pacific Series Championship in Style

Posted by Near the Hoop on June 9, 2011 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Fiji showed the City of Port Moresby yesterday why they are the Pacific Netball Champions and ranked 5th in the world in the sport.  Too big and too strong PNG’s Melanesian cousins put on display agility and strength at the expense of agallant Pepe side and in front of a very parochial PNG home crowd.

Fiji had the game under its control right from the first whistle, forcing the Pepe’s into turnovers early in the first quarter and scooting off to a comfortable lead in a blink of an eye. Aggressive defence by the Fijian midcourt had the Pepe’s in all sorts of bother but PNG’s strength near the hoop with Lua Rikis and Maleta Roberts finding the net in the late exchanges of the first quarter brought the best out of anappreciative home crowd.

It didn’t take much to set the crowd alight and each time thePNG attack found its way into the Fijian zone and every time the ball was lodged in the net, the roar of the fans resonated miles away.

For three days, Fiji’s dominance of the game in the South Pacific was on full display for fans of netball to see and marvel at.  The Cook Islands, Samoa and their very professional approach to the pregame and post game warm up and warm downs, not a feature of the game in PNG, certainly had netballers reflecting on their own practice.   The confidence they exuded would no doubt make them competitive at next months World Championships in Singapore.


Above: action int the PNG red zone as raid after raid kept Nisha Omi (GK) and Lama Lui (GD) busy but to their credit PNG made a contest of each posesion.

Playing at this level and especially with our Pacific neighbours has always been a physical tussle.  Veterans like Lua Rikis and Maleta Roberts knew what was waiting for them before they even stepped onto the court.  Fiji are big, especially in the forward and defensive pockets and the only way to get possession in this game is to claim the ball.  The contest between the shooters and defenders throughout the series, let alone this game, is another element of the game absent at the local club level, so the reaction of netballers watching the game was an interesting one as Fiji muscled and outtussled PNG for possession.   This part of the game at international level is physically draining and must have been an eye opener for many proponents of the sport that espouse the non contact nature of the game and was certainly a talking point by spectators as they left the stadium.

A confident President of Netball Fiji, Mrs Bogidrau, commented during day two of the  tournament that the Championship of this tournament was pretty much assured and the focus now for Fiji was Singapore.

Leading by example, captains Matila Waqanidrola (GK) for Fiji and PNG’s Lua Rikis (GA) worked hard to push their charges to work aggressively for the ball, so it was not surprisingly that the contest between the two when they did cross paths was a very physical one, in an athletic context of course.   On court as they do off it, the two have a healthy respect for each other as athletes. 

PNG’s midcourt, obviously still a work in progress afte rMona Lisa Leka’s retirement, showed up a lack of structure and space options,something the Cook Islanders, Samoans and Fijians quickly took advantage of over the three day tournament, making the going hard work for our centre/wing attackand wing defence/centre combinations.   It was here that PNG conceded the majority of its turnovers.

 Jessie Logo, having sat out the last two days on the bench must have been holding her breath and looked like she was going to burst when asked to warm up.  The young New Guinea Islander the first since the days of Kilala Owen, was surprisingly strong under the net in the secondquarter but clearly lacked the big game experience.  With one senior cap under her belt, she willno doubt mature and build up her own game style.  Her height and reach are attributes which will provide her with  opportunities if she sets her mind to it and goes on to use them.  LamaLua, Marypaul Buehler and Jessie all played above their personal bestthroughout the tournament despite what was always going to be a tough day atthe office.

Fiji also used up their full bench and were forced to make achange to their attacking line up after their lofty shooter, Elenoa Vatureba  injured her knee in the PNG zone in the secondquarter.

As expected Afa Rusivakula was always strong at the net forFiji as was Vatureba until her injury.

Fiji's record against Samoa on Tuesday morning was a tight tussle but again Fiji were able to run away with the game in the final quarter.  The Cook Islanders took the game to the Fijians in the second game of the series on Wednesday night but again the Fijian attack stepped up a notch late in the turn and also running away with that game.

The final score line in the final game against PNG 72 – 34, indicative of where the two countries are currently positioned in the world rankings.



Coca Cola's "Natures Own" announces sponsorship of Pacific Netball Series

Posted by Near the Hoop on April 29, 2011 at 10:58 AM Comments comments (1)


Coca Cola joined the drive today to stage perhaps the most important international fixture for the PNG Netball Federaton in a long while.


It announced at a press conference for the media that its brand "Natures Own" water would support Netball PNG (PNG Netball Federation) with a timely sponsorship package for the Pacific Netball Seried worth some K25,000.


CCA Regional Manager for Southern, Mr steve Woods said is is important to support women in sport and with the best of the Oceania Regions netballers contesting the Series on PNG's home turf, it was only appropriate we align this with PNG's very own "Natures Own" water.


Coca Cola Amatil PNG will be given exclusive beverage rights to the tournament as the "official Drinks" sponsor.  The package would be split K15,000 in cash and K10,000 in CCA product.


The 3rd Pacific Netball Series will be held in Port Moresby from 6th to 10 June 2011.  World ranked teams Fiji, Samoa and the Cook islands will take part in the contest.


Netball PNG, represented by President julienne Leka-Maliaki, Chairman of the event's Organisining Committee, Wayne Dorgan and Pepe's head coach, Pole Kassman were happy with Coca Cola's commitment and acknowledged the worlds most popular beverage recognition of women in sports.


Committee Chairman Wayne Dorgan thanked CCA for their generosity, on behalf of the Federation.  "We are extremely grateful that Coca Cola value the merit in promoting and empowering women  of all ages through netball and we pledge to be transparent and accountable for your valuable sponsorship kina."


"This will be a real celabraion of women in sport with 84 international athletes, technical officials and administrators gearing up to show the passion and skill in which netball is played in the South Pacific."



Pepe's and Development Squad Named

Posted by Near the Hoop on April 24, 2011 at 10:46 AM Comments comments (0)

The PNG National Netball Team, the Pepe's and reserves were named today at the close of an arduous two day selection trials at Port Moresby's Bisini Courts.  A Development Team and reserves was also named.

While many of us were contemplating what the second day of Easter would bring for us, thirty odd trialists for the Pepe's and the National Development Team were assembling in the early morning to start what was to be two fairly strenuous days of assessment and decisions for Netball PNG.  The trials which started at 7:00 am on Saturday morning included a second fitness and skills test for the 32 hopefuls.   The trials conducted under watchful gaze of head Coach Pole Kassman and two full panels of selectors, looked at both the core fitness of the trialists and their court skills.



In a departure from the original concept of a Pepe's Team and a U21 Team, Netball PNG has opted for the selection of two teams, the first being the Pepe's and a second being a Development Team which promoting the concept of development of a talent pool of first rate netballers.

The trialists included Australian based players and current Pepe's, Richanda kassman and Cheryl Renagi and players selected in both the senior and U21 divisions at the the last National Championships held in Madang.


Due to match commitments in Australia, Maleta Roberts and Tiata Baldwin were not able to attend these trials, however their fitness records have been made available to the Netball PNG selectors..   Yvonne Magutau withdrew just prior to the trials citing fitness issues as did Michelle Geitz, whos is still favouring her ankle after a serious injury last year.

The teams are as follows

The 2011 PNG Pepe's

(above) the 2011 PNG Pepe's.  Not present, Maleta Roberts and Tiata Baldwin


Maleta Roberts (Bne), Tiata Baldwin (Bne), Marie Otio (POM), Mary-Paul Buehler (POM), Albertine Ehari (POM)

Mid Court

Alurigo Opina (POM), Richanda -Leigh Kassman (Bne), Cheryl Renagi (Lismore Aust), Lama Lua (POM), (Rhoda Kerea) (Central)


Lua Rikis (POM), Winnie Mavara (POM), Nisha Omi (Madang), Nancy Kapi (POM), Jessie Logo, (POM)

The Development Team

(above) The 2011 National Development Team


Albertine Ehari (POM), Agnes Lucas (Alotau), Paruru Vaieke (Motu Koita West), Dorccus Ilagi (Central), Rhoda Kerea (Central)

Mid Court

Gase Moka (POM), Rava Agi (POM), Stacey Alu (Madang), Philomena Naime (Kairuku Hiri), Boio Rei (Motu Koita West)


Jessie Logo (POM), Tau Galewa (Central), Linessah Pouna (Alotau), Kinibo Baroa (Lagatoi), Raylene Andrew (POM)

Captains of the respective sides were not named by Netball PNG (PNG netball Federation)

Teams commence training Monday morning for their respective international engagements.  The Pepe's have the task of hosting the Pacific Netball Series in Port Moresby from 6 - 10 June 2011 and the Development Team will attend Sydney later in June to contest the NSW State Championships.

East New Britain Looks at Netball Prospects

Posted by Near the Hoop on March 28, 2011 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

From way out at left field comes a story some in the netball circles would have thought unlikely but the old cliche, "down but not out" immediately sprtngs to mind as netters in Rabaul made contact with Netball PNG, via Near the Hoop, to enquire after support and membership to the Federation.

By a stroke of sheer good luck, AusAID volunteer consultant to the ENb Tourism Authority, Elizabeth Brennan happens to be quite an avid netballer and in the short time since her posting to Kokopo, she has been able to generate considerable interest in Kokopo and Rabaul and with the assistance of fellow Australian volunteer Alice Keeling, they have held several very succesful day long events playing and sharing netball.

The University of Vudal grass forecourts have for the recent weeks been the venue for a growing number of teams eager to participate in their small 10 week competition and from all accounts the interest is growing with impressive gaines from week to week.

There is a Papuan community in East New Britain which form the core of the compeition, providing not only an example of how the game should be played but also in building coaching and umpiring support to Elizabeth and Alice.  Jane Ravusiro who is situated at the foot of the Bainings with husband Phillip make the journey every Satuday morning just to play.  "The last time I played netball must have been 10 years ago" laughs an exasperated Mrs Ravusiro, "But I just love the game", and that  seems to be the same experience for many.  The wonderful thing is that the local women are now getting involved and enthused with the game.

The NGI have produced some excellent athletes and there is nothing stopping them from excelling in netball, in fact the correspondence Near the Hoop has sighted oozes with potential.  The regioin has had a number of internationals representing PNG in netball but the one that first comes to mind is Kilala Owens, who represented the country in 30 games and was quite a shining star for the region.

Kilala Owen played 30 internatinals for PNG

The competition had its third week of games this weekend past we wish them well going forward from here.  There is a growing contingent of local women interested in playing the sport aside from the Papuans that make up the teams and Ms Brennan has adopted a innovative method of correcting and explaining the finer aspects of the game on the run, encouraging more women to play the game and promoting  the involvement of families in the sport.

Her enthusiasm has gotten the attention of the Governor, Leo Dion, who has offered his support to the competition and the incorporation of an association for the province.  It has also caught the attention of the media which has allowed the competition to feature prominently in the Post Courier's sporting roundup from the region for several weeks now.



(above series) Forecourt of the Univeristy of Vudal is home to the netball in the province.

Certainly looks like they've got themselves organised.

Ms Brennan has already commenced dialogue with Netball PNG (PNG Netball Federation) on the possibility of establishing a small but rubust association for East New Britain and given that netball will be one of the sports contested at the next PNG Games, which Rabaul will host in 2012, right now seems as  good a time as any to get started. 

From what Netball PNG has said, it appears Kavieng which only has an associate membership with the Federation and Lihir have indicated their intention to become full financial members of Netball PNG (PNG Netball Federation).  If Rabaul also joins the fold it will be the first time in a long while that Kimbe, Manus, New Ireland and Rabaul will represent the region.  Only the Autonomous Region of Bougainville will be missing from the region, an ecellent turn out for anyones money.

We are sure the country's netball community wish netters in East New Britain well and encourage them to continue to develop and strengthen the sport in the region and it would be good to see them at the national trials.

Pepe's on Contract prepare for Singapore

Posted by Near the Hoop on March 10, 2011 at 8:37 AM Comments comments (2)

In December 2010, Near the Hoop ran a story on the prospects for two current Pepe's to spend some time in Singapore training and playing with and against the Singapore national team as part of their preparation for the World Championships that Singapore will host later this year.

Happily we report that all the paperwork has been done and the two players leave for Singapore next week on 17th March 2011.

The two players requested for by the Singaporeans and cleared by Netball PNG, are 21 year old midcourt attacker Alurigo Opina and 20 year old Defender, Nisha Omi.  Both will be part of a contingent of some six players from the Oceania region and Africa, recruited by the Singapore national team to assist with their preparations for the July World Championships.

Both Alurigo and Nisha will play in Singapore's Super League competition and train with the national side to provide their players with decent opposition in their lead up to July 2011.  It will be as much an eye opener for them as it will be for the Singaporeans and provide invaluable outside experience for the pair.

Whilst there, they will be continuously monitored to ensure they keep up their nation selection training programs, as both will be available for selection for the Pacific Netball Series.  They will also be ambassadors of  the sport and the country and acccordingly they will be expected to carry themselves with the highest level of discipline and pride.


(above left) Nisha Omi seen here in her playing for the Mermaids in POMNA premier

division and Alurigo Opina (above right) who plays mid court for the POMNA club, the Sparrows.

When asked, both sets of parents spoke with pride of  their daughters achievements and understandably were a little worried at the same time, as this would be an assignment in which their children were traveling on their own to a different country and not under the umbrella of a team as they normally would when travelling with the Pepe's. 

Vincent Omi, who works with Telikom in Madang was partcularly philasophical saying that the experience will help round out Nisha's overall profile as a player, adding that Nisha's hard work was now paying off and the sacrifices the family had to endure was bearing fruit in Nisha's achivements in the sport.  With seven girls in the family, the Omi's are avid netters like their mother and look to Nisha as their beacon of hope and inspiration but encouraging her in her success despite their own economic circumstance.

Mrs Omi extended her heartfelt gratitude to Pole Kassman and the Kassman family for assisting with Nisha's upkeep whenever she has been required to be in Port Moresby and for supervising Nisha's training programs, that has ensured she remains competitive. "We are a family of netters so it is with the greatest pride that we watch Nisha's success" said Nisha's mother.   The family has had to do things tough and appealed to prospective sponsors to consider the special needs of  netball talents based outside Port Moresby, especially when it comes the travel of these players as and when they are required to take up representative duties.  But the netball madness doesn't end there for the Omi's because it seems another Omi, Miriam, has also been asked to train for qualification and possible selection to the Pepe's squad this year.



Alu Opina, from which young Alurigo Opina obviously takes her name, like Vincent, is well pleased at the success of his only daughter among  a brood of boys but looks at this assignment as an important part of Alurigo's career in Netball.  "Learn all you can my daughter and bring that knowledge back to do your part in developing netball here" he tells Alurigo, be careful and work hard and remember that what ever you and Nisha do, it will reflect on all netballers from Papua New Guinea.

The Opina's are less fearful of the pairs stay in Singapore, as they are confindent that their old friend, Kate Carpenter, who is now the head coach of the Singapore national side,  will remember her time with sport in PNG.  She was head coach for the PNG Pepe's in 1997 and 1998 and is a close friend of Margaret Opina, Alu's mother.  "Kate is an old friend and we know she will keep an eye out for our girls"

Bios of both players can be seen on Netball PNG's sportingpulse webpage.  Simply click on the link to take you there.

Our congratulations go to both players,  We wish them a wonderful journey and for their safe return.

Netball PNG Announces Appointments and Training Squads

Posted by Near the Hoop on March 7, 2011 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Netball PNG ( PNGNF) recently announced its training squads for both its Junior Development and Open teams.  Training commenced on 21 February 2011.

The PNGNF also confirmed appointments for its management teams who will be responsible for the coordination of the training programs and monitoring of player performances across the country.  The appointments are for three years.

The training squads will undergo a 3 month training program with selections scheduled in April for both the Pepes and the PNG Development Team.  As per the 2011 Calendar the Pepes are preparing for the 2011 Pacific Netball Series to be hosted by Netball PNG from 6 – 10 June in Port Moresby, whilst the Development Side will be preparing for their participation at the NSW State carnival in July in Sydney, Australia. 

2 other international events are planned for both teams later in the year.

The PNGNFintends to roll out its development pathway program towards 2015 commencing this year with emphasis on player and technical development programs across the country and is adamant on ensuring that netball meets the overall objectives ofthe 2015 Pacific Games. 

Other technical & player development programs are expected to be rolled out in-country with the support from the corporate sector this year.

The management teams include:-

Open Team (Pepes)                  Mrs Pole Kassman – Head Coach

                                                    Mr Boe Lahui – Assistant Coach

                                                    Mrs Helen Havora – Team Manager


Development team                    Mrs Margaret Opina – Head Coach

                                                    Ms Oti Sarufa – Assitant Coach

                                                    Mrs Kori Toua-Navuru – Team Manager


Training Squads include;

The immediate focus for Netball PNG (PNG Netball Federation) is to ensure the Pepe's are competitive at the Pacific Netball Series in June this year and for the development squad to also impress at the NSW State Championships in July also this year.

It's PNG's Turn to Host Pacific Netball Series

Posted by Near the Hoop on December 17, 2010 at 9:03 AM Comments comments (2)


Those following the Pacific Netball Series will know that Papua New Guinea has the opportunity to host the event in 2011 as part of the round robin process.

The Pacific Netball Series is an IFNA sanctioned annual tournament and pits the best four countries in the region against each other for the purpose of assessing the level of competition coming from this region and ranking at the world level.

Currently the top four nations in the region includes PNG (ranked 15th).  The others are Fiji (currently ranked 5th in the world), Samoa,( ranked 9th) and the Cook Islands (ranked 11th)

It is understood that Netball PNG (PNG Netball Federation) has already commenced the dialogue processes with the PNG Sports Foundation, who are the custodians of the Sir John Guise Indoor Stadium, the NCDC Governor’s office who will be the host City and the Oeania Netball Federation (ONF) who are IFNA’s lead agency for the region to ensure facilities are adequate for the tournament.  Discussions with sponsors and the netball officialdom will proceed from these discussions.

The Pepe’s were unlucky in June this year being pipped at the very end of each game.  In the process they missed the opportunity to attend the World Championships in Singapore next year.

The Pacific Netball Series will bring the regions big guns of netball to PNG which for netballers will be an opportunity of a lifetime to see the Pacific’s heavyweights in action against the Pepe’s on home soil.  It will also provide umpires and coaches the opportunity to see umpiring at the international level and the tactics coaches employ to manage their games and for the enthusiasts it will allow you to enjoy netball at the top level and the competition that will push the Pepe’s to their highest potential.

Though Australia and New Zealand and perhaps those countries that make the worlds top 5 countries play at a slightly higher level, many if not all of the women on the Samoan, Cook Island and Fijian national teams play on a full time basis in Australia and New Zealand’s professional and tier 1 competitions,  travelling back to their countries only to play for their national teams when required.  Australia and New Zealand are ranked No1 and No2 in the world.

In order for Papua New Guinea to host the PNS, criteria especially regarding the playing and training facilities will have to be considered adequate by IFNA/ONF.  The only facility suitable for such a tournament is the indoor stadium at the Sir John Guise facilities in Waigani.  Whether or not this will be accepted by IFNA will depend on whether or not the appropriate refurbishments will be committed to by the PNG Sports Foundation and the NCDC.

There should be some news on this in the next few weeks.

When Near the Hoop spoke to her this week, Julienne Leka-Maliaki, President of Netball PNG (PNG Netball Federation) was confident that PNG would host the series next year.  The PNG Sports Foundation and NCDC were not available for comment.