By Fidelis Sukina – EMTV Sports, Port Moresby
The SP PNG Hunters have not made any major changes to the team from that which took the field last weekend, with only one player returning from suspension, and one sidelined with an injury.
They are expecting an added boost to motivation from the home crowd on Sunday when they take on the Northern Pride at 3 pm. The 10-nil loss to the Tweed Head Seagulls was the first time the Hunters have been left scoreless.
“This is the first time we have not scored a point against another team in (the club’s) five year history. And I don’t think the boys here knew about that, so I made that known to them today. We always score four points or two points,” Marum told EMTV Sports.
But despite the loss, Coach Michael Marum is confident enough not to make any major changes; as he is expecting the return of Junior Rau from injury, and the benching of Ila Alu to an injury that will see him out for eight weeks. Coach Marum is also more concerned about the combination of the fullback, hooker, and the halves.
“I didn’t want to make too many changes. Our first game was last weekend. There’s a lot of work for the halves to do. But we don’t want to put too much pressure on them. The other boys are knocking on that same door. So in the second game, we’ll see how they go. Maybe they’ll step up this weekend at home.”
This Sunday’s afternoon match against the Northern Pride will test the team once more, with the Pride coming off a strong win, where Kumul Nene McDonald starred in last week.
“They’ll be naming their side today (Wednesday). I spoke to Nene last weekend, so, you know…hopefully, he doesn’t come up. It’ll be a tough one. ”
The 20 man squad sees Joe Joshua at fullback; Junior Rau on the right wing, the centre pairing is Bland Abavu and Captain Adex Wera; Gairo Kapana is on the right wing, while the halves pairing of Charlie Simon at five-eighth and William Mone at halfback. Vice-Captain Moses Meninga and Enock Maki are the props; the hooker is Patrick Morea.
McKenzie Yei stars in the second row, partnered by Daniel Tapol. Locking the scrum will be Junior Rop. The extended bench is Nick Hasu, Brendon Nima, Dilbert Isaac, Stanton Albert, Wawa Paul, Butler Morris, and Epel Kapinias.
Three omissions from this current team will be dropped.