Pathways celebrated as PNG match official earns Cup nod

Max Topani will become the first Papua New Guinean to officiate in an Intrust Super Cup game when he runs the sidelines as a touch judge in Sunday’s Round 11 clash between the Hunters and South Logan Magpies.

The 20-year-old (pictured above, second from left) will be in action at the Oil Search National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

Another PNG match official Hanua Rupa has been appointed as the fourth match official and will be on stand -by.

PNGRFL Chairman Sandis Tsaka congratulated both men on their appointments.

“Officiating as a referee and touch judge are part and parcel of a game,” Tsaka said.

“Touch judging is not only putting your flags up when the ball or player goes into touch.

“(They are) just as important as the (official) in the middle and they communicate things they miss and do not see.

“On behalf of the PNGRFL Board and management, I congratulate Max and Hanua on their appointments. Take the opportunity with both hands and have a top game.”

Both Topani and Rupa were recommended by former NRL referee Shayne Hayne to the QRL referees academy manager Eddie Ward, who made the appointments on Tuesday.

See the full Round 11 match official appointments

“Both men were impressive on what I saw during my visit to Port Moresby earlier this month and had no hesitation in recommending them to officiate at the Hunters home games,” Hayne said from Brisbane.

“I will be there this weekend to further asses them on their performance, especially Max.

“Hanua is on stand- by as the fourth match official and his turn will come soon.”

Topani was at training in Lae on Tuesday afternoon when told of his appointment.

“I was really surprised when I got the call from Port Moresby that I was appointed touch judge, it is an honour and I will do my best,” Topani said.

Rupa was getting off the PMV at his Tubusereia home in Central Province when he got his call.

“Thank you,” was all he could utter.

The match referee is Wyatt Raymond while the other touch judge is Jack Ebert.