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The guest umpire/coach, Stan Hunt from Victoria, and his wife Noela were at the Dumpu carnival, traveling from Goroka with the players. Stan filled in to make up chukkas on Sunday afternoon. The Hunts went on to Madang with the Stanthorpe players. On their return, Stan coached some of our players.
The National Titles were at Nadzab, hosted by the Lae Club. We were billeted with the Caseys and the Blomfields with the Beirnes, others stayed in Lae. Lae had six teams, Ramu - four, Hagen - one and Goroka - five, a total of sixteen teams. On the Saturday we each played three matches, a very full programme.
In the D Grade Ramu 4 lost to Goroka 3 and 4 teams but beat Lae 4. In the final Ramu (Jonah, Barb. Abavo, Kimbe, Nimo, Numbah), defeated Goroka 4. Ramu 3 (Yavieng, Marling, Osifa, Lucas, Annis, Nimo) won all three matches in the C Grade and went on to win the final against Lae 3 (Jodie Smith, Stuart Smith, Roger Ansell, Ben Dirks, Bruce de Bough, Jill Smith). The Goroka B team (including Aitap, John Tuckerman) defeated Ramu B and Lae B, going on to win the title from RamuB (Peter Grant, Sulli, Benson, Ben, Bruce and Sandi), in a close match, 9-8. In the A Grade, Lae A having defeated Ramu B, played a good match against Goroka A, who also defeated Ramu A. In the final, Goroka (A.Jones, R.Palm, P.Frame, R.Hannon, G.Spannagle and S.Kosi) went to extra time against Ramu (Grant, Keri, Mata, Kimao, Rob, and Dot), but this time Goroka got the ball and won. Grant Jephcott had a fall; he won the Best and Fairest Trophy. The best horse was won by Suvarais (better known as a racehorse), which was owned by Suambu Stud and ridden by Scott Johnston in Lae A. Notable players absent from the carnival were Bruce Duffield, who had a broken leg, and Kipas Moti who was in goal. Bob Hannon who had officially retired as Manager of ANGCO earlier in the year played his last carnival for Goroka at the Nationals.
The 1983 season started early to enable those chosen to represent PNG at the Test series in Australia, to have some practice. Funds had been raised through the raffling of two utilities, a large donation from Rothmans, also from Westpac Bank and Rice Industries. The organisation of equipment took time, in spite of Paul Frame's best efforts. We were allowed to use the PNG Flag in parades and somehow the crest was on the shirts and blazers, although this may not have been strictly legal. The red shirts, blazers and saddlecloths with some yellow and black trim were impressive. The tapes on the white bandages were red, yellow and black, looking good.
The first carnival in 1983 was at Nadzab, Goroka was unable to play due to a 'slip' on Kassam Pass. With the new Club - Markham Valley, there was still a three-way competition. Ramu won all finals. The team was finally picked to play in Australia. Of the fifteen originally listed after the 1982 Titles, three Goroka players were unavailable, Arthur Jones and Gordon Spannagle because the tour coincided with the coffee season, and Bob Hannon was no longer eligible to play. Dan Leahy was unavailable to coach. Bruce Duffield was nominated coach/player, Neil Donaldson - Manager. Kimao and Ben were not selected. The team was finally Kipas Mortie (Captain), Paul Frame, Mata Kawapa, Sandi Kosi, and Keri Novah, with Scott Johnston (at Gatton College), and Grant Jephcott (at Toowoomba Grammar) already in Queensland studying. There was another carnival at Dumpu on 16th April at which Goroka, rather embarassingly defeated the rest of the Inernational players, however the next day the chosen team won the A Grade, Ramu the B and C grades. There were about 140 people attending. On May 1st at Goroka the PNG Team won the A Grade, Markham Valley won the B Grade and Ramu the C. After another practice weekend the team flew to Port Moresby where the Governor-General farewelled the team, who left on PX3 to Brisbane, thence by Ansett to Melbourne. Our hosts, prior to the first tests in Canberra, were the Victorian Polocrosse association. The team were driven from Melbourne to Trafalgar, where they were billeted as follows- Keri, Scott and the Duffields with Max and Betty Radford; Kipas and Sandy with Graham and Julie Jolly; Neil with Ron and Fay Jolly and Mata and Paul with Russell and Joyce Jolly. Scott Johnston flew to Sydney at his own expense, and drove to Sale with the Jephcotts. Grant was only to join the team at the Gold Coast. The horses selected were:
for Bruce - Buck Buchanan's MEG
Paul - Max Radford's McKENZIE
Kipas - Graham Jolly's SAILOR
Keri - Ron Jolly's STEPTOE
Sandy - Wayne Grieves' CINDY
Scott - Lawrence Malcolm's SMILEY
Mata - one of Ron Jolly's