By Taromane Martin
DEPUTY Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs and Sports Honorable Manasseh Maelanga is the new patron for the Solomon Islands Rugby League (SIRL).
This was revealed during the first ever international rugby league test match between Solomon Islands and Vanuatu on Saturday at the Panatina rugby oval.
“As the minister responsible for sports I’m honored and happy to be here to witness this historic match,” Honorable Maelanga said.
“On behalf of the government we are happy to see rugby league coming up as one of the sports in the Solomon Islands.
“I would like to thank SIRL executive for the successful hosting of this match between the two Melanesian neighbors.
“I think this is the way forward for us Melanesian brothers to continue developing the growth of rugby league and also strengthening ties in both countries.
“On this note I would also like to thank the Vanuatu governments, the team management and players for ensuring rugby league are played in your country as well.
“And I’m pleased to announce that the Solomon Islands government will continue to support rugby league in the country,” the Deputy Prime Minister who was the guest of honor on Saturday said.
SIRL President Mr Jerry Tengemoana thanked the Deputy Prime Minister and their sponsors for helping them promote the rugby league code in the country.
Saturday’s friendly match was won Vanuatu scoring six converted tries and one unconverted try to finish the match 34-20.
The Solomon Islands Sollies managed to grab three tries with Eugene Tekobi successful on the conversions.
“I hope this will become an annual event between the two Melanesian neighbors since the relationship started back in 2013,” Sollies Team Captain Rex Horoi said.