PNG prepares for footy festival - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

PNG prepares for footy festival

By Ilya Gridneff 25/09/2008 02:51:10 PM Comments (0)

Rugby league mad Papua New Guinea is gearing up for one of the sporting highlights of the year, a clash between the national side and Australia's Prime Minister's XIII.

PNG this weekend will take on Australia in the annual battle that has often ended with strong police crowd control being needed.

More than 5,000 locals will pack into the small Port Moresby stadium this Sunday, hundreds more will mill outside while others up take vantage spots in the nearby trees.

PNG's footy passion, frustration with team performances and lack of discipline has led to crowd violence in the past.

It's a problem the local South Pacific (SP) cup competition faces every season and organisers tirelessly try to stop.

PNG police inspector Andy Bawa said security was ready, although they were confident it wouldn't be needed, considering the recent smooth trouble-free SP cup finals.

"The dogs, tear gas and riot police are ready," he said.

"But we are not going to have to use it because we don't expect any hiccups.

"We are rugby league fanatics but also good spectators. We love our game and can be well behaved.

"PNG are going to win by one point in the final minute, or at least we'll win by half a point," he joked.

The Australian PM's XIII drew 24-24 with PNG last year.

The Australian team arrives in Port Moresby on Friday afternoon and will attend an official function at the Australian High Commission that night.

Part of the trip will see the Aussie XIII participating in various AusAID funded programs.

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