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Hunters looking for new spine for 2019

By Fidelis Sukina – EMTV Sports, Port Moresby

With players from the 2018 season moving on with contracts overseas and elsewhere, the SP PNG Hunters are looking for new players to fill into key positions.

The 2019 is season set to start on the second week of March and the coaching staff have been watching closely at potential players in the train-on squad.

In a rugby league team the spine is considered the most important part of the team, the spine includes the hooker, the half back and the five-eight.

These players control the game, from the defence structure to the set plays.

For the SP PNG Hunters, they have lost their spine which held together the team for the past three years. Hooker Wartovo Puara and the Halves pairing of Ase and Watson Boas, have left for their 2019 season in the United Kingdom.

That has left the Hunters coaching and management team in search of a new spine for the 2019 season of the Intrust Super Cup.

“As you know, the Boas brothers have left. So we’re looking at building a new combination within our spine over the nine, including Wartovo. So we’ve pretty much got a new spine happening,” SP PNG Hunters Assistant Coach, Nigel Hukula said.

A few players which have been with the club last season, are on stand-by for the three key players and are being considered for the positions.

William Mone was a half back for the Hela Wigmen franchise before coming into the Hunters last season, while Charlie Simon has stepped in a few times, in the halves position last season.

For the hooker role, young Woods Kawage who made the Under 23 PNG residents side last year is in camp.

“We’ve got a couple of young boys as well as we’ve got Charlie who’s got a bit of experience there so that should add to our progression,” says the Assistant Coach, “in saying that, we have a criteria – we look at all aspects, as well as youth and experience.”   

With round one scheduled for the 9th of March, time is of the essence for the Hunters to come up with the final squad.

The main aim is to get players that can keep up with 25 rounds of the season and can fit in well with their assigned positions.

“I see the competition is quite demanding. The first five to six weeks can get a player eased into the competition but it’s a long season and then we look at durability over that period.”

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