Mrs. Janet Fox, the widow of long serving PNG Rugby League administrator late Don Fox has said the naming of the Digicel Cup Minor Premiership Shield after her husband was a kind, and beautiful gesture, and a great honor to his memory.
“He would undoubtedly be extremely humbled, but very proud to receive this recognition, as he always wanted Papua New Guinea to greatly achieve in Rugby League.” Mrs. Fox responded to an email last week when advised of the PNG National Rugby League Competition (PNGNRLC) to name the Minor Premiership Shield after her late husband Mr. Don Fox.
“Don’s heart was always in Papua New Guinea, and he dearly loved the country and its people. He took great enjoyment in singing your beautiful National Anthem with love and pride. I, Janet, together with my daughters, Joanne, Simone and Monique consider your thoughtfulness in naming this Shield after Don to be a truly heartfelt and magnificent gesture from the Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Competition and PNG Rugby Football League and we thank you sincerely for bestowing this honor. I know Don will be watching from above with great affection.” Mrs. Fox said.
The PNGNRLC Board has announced that starting from this season, and for many more years to come, PNG’s Digicel Cup Minor Premiers will receive the ‘Don Fox Memorial Minor Premiership Shield’.
The Minor Premiers is the team at the top of the ladder after all regular season round robin games have been played.
PNG NRLC Chairman Adrian Chow said Don Fox was an icon in PNG rugby league.
Don’s illustrious involvement with PNG rugby league began when he arrived in 1966. He was a goal kicking front rower when he joined the Magani Badili Rugby League club in Port Moresby. The team won three consecutive premierships in 1969, 1970 and 1971. He became Captain/Coach of the team and made it to the grand finals in 1972, 73, 74 and 75.
Don played for Papua against New Guinea in the Inter Territory series captaining the Papua side in 1971. He also played for the PNG Presidents 13 against visiting Australian teams including South Sydney, Eastern Suburbs and Western Suburbs. He hung up his rugby boots in 1975 and became a referee.
He was Team Manager of the PNG Kumuls for the 2000 Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) to the UK and France.
Don became club chairman of the Toyota Mioks from 1999 to 2009. Toyota Mioks won the SP Cup in 2000. Don became Chairman of the PNG National Rugby League from 2008 and 2009 (Bemobile Cup) to 2010 and 2011 (Digicel Cup).
In November 2011, he was requested to take up the position of Chairman of PNG Rugby Football League (PNGRFL). In 2013, Don confidently handed over the position of the Chairman of PNGRFL to Sandis Tsaka who still carries the role to this day.
Don was awarded the Life Membership of PNGRFL in Port Moresby on May 13, 2019. He received the Order of British Empire (OBE) from the Queen Elizabeth 11 in 2009 for his services to sports and community.
Don remained on the PNGRFL Board as a Director until his passing on Friday July 03rd 2020 in Brisbane.
PNGRFL Director Sudhir Guru presented the inaugural Don Fox Memorial Minor Premiership Shield to Lae Snax Tigers during the Elimination Finals in Port Moresby on Sunday.
Tigers headed the ladder after round 11 on a superior for and against points percentage over PRK Mendi Muruks and JPG Waghi Tumbes.