By Elijah Lavett – EM TV Sport, Port Moresby
With the inclusion of Kato Ottio in the Raiders Auckland 9’s team and Rod Griffin in the Tigers NRL team, and the Hunters to play their first match against the Penrith Panthers, PNG players are slowly regaining attention from the NRL.
There’s no doubt the long-term plan is for PNG to include the Hunters in the NRL.
There may be a possibility of the National Football Stadium hosting an NRL match within the next two or three years.
Panthers General Manager, Phil Gould, headed a delegation last year when the Hunters played a few of their games here in Port Moresby, and was impressed with the facility and passion of the supporters.
Last year, the Queensland Rugby League denied the Hunters a home qualifying grand final match in Port Moresby, because of the huge costs involved.
The success of the Hunters in their short Intrust Super Cup history has been outstanding. They left their worst performance of the year to their last, getting beaten by the Townsville Blackhawks.
It will be a different looking Hunters side this year under Coach Michael Marum with the departure of Willie Minoga and Israel Eliab.
Despite these two big losses, the Hunters are showing faith in finding the next rising star in the Intercity Cup competition.