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The Mighty ESS Tent City Lights: MRU back-to-back Grand Finalists

For years, the Morobe Rugby Union arena has been dominated by prestigious clubs that originate from Lae City’s central suburban areas, such as the Hornibrook Harlequins or the Consort Royals. But now, from the outskirts of Lae City, in the Tent City suburban area, a titan has emerged.

In 2016, the Tent City Lights Rugby Union Club was formed by the collaborative efforts of young aspiring individuals from the Tent City suburban area in an effort to engage local youths in the code of rugby union.

Since the club’s inception into the Morobe Rugby Union arena, the Tent City Lights quickly demonstrated they were a force to be reckoned with. In their inaugural year, the club bravely marched into the semi-finals, where their fairy-tale run was cut short by the Hornibrook Harlequins.

In 2018, the Tent City Lights suffered another heart-breaking exit from the finals to the Harlequins yet again, however, these setbacks would only trigger a spark that would send shock-waves through the rugby union code in Lae City.

Today, the Tent City Lights are an invigorating and thriving club. With the love and support of the entire Tent City community, the club made their first grand final berth last year in 2022, where they successfully defeated the Royals 11-8 to lift their maiden premiership.

This season, the Tent City Lights showed no signs of stopping. After dominating the number 1 spot throughout the normal rounds, the club was rewarded with the 2023 Minor Premiership.

Their impressive efforts were also rewarded with new sporting gear by local security firm Executives Security Systems (ESS), which boosted their run into the finals, allowing them to secure their second grand final appearance after defeating the Consort Royals 16-6 in the preliminary finals.

From a newly inducted club to a back-to-back grand finalist, the Tent City Lights have changed the power structure of rugby union in the MRU. Tent City Light Premier Division captain, Lindsay Yobone, gave credit for the club's success in the last few years to the young individuals and their unwavering commitment and dedication despite a lack of proper sponsorships.

“Their passion for the sport, with the sense of originality, has been a backbone and driving influence towards the club's uphill performances time and time again these past years for both Rugby 15s and 7s in Lae,” Yobone said.

Apart from their success on the field, the club has also produced a number of local young talents in the provincial and national levels, their most recent export of the club being Emmanuel Alfred to the PNG Pukpuks 7s squad and the 2023 Goroka Lahanis team this year.

With the grand final only weeks away, the ESS Tent City Lights march on to their back-to-back grand final with the most resolute intent to defend their title. The energy at Tent City is nothing short of ecstatic, the pride of their community is soaring, and the passion and eagerness are intense.

With the captain and dynamic hooker, Lindsay Yobone, leading the forward packs through the front, and the skill and craftsmanship of Emmanuel Alfred directing the backline, the ESS Tent City Lights are marching to their second grand final appearance with the most determined ambitions to defend their title as the MRU Champions.

The club is on stand-by this week and will face off with the winner of the major semi-finals between Consort Royals and Hornibrook Harlequins.

The Grand Final will be held next Saturday, 21st of October, 2023. The venue is yet to be confirmed.

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