By Fidelis Sukina – EMTV Sports, Port Moresby
THREE SP PNG Hunters players have been sidelined from running onto the field this weekend after they breached team protocol. The three players did not return to camp after the team’s third loss against the Sunshine Coast Falcons on Sunday. It was not the change expected after a hat trick in last weekend’s match.
“We’ve got changes in the lineup. The obvious ones are Joe Joshua, who played well last weekend, or the week before. But he has not turned up for training,” says SP PNG Hunters Head Coach, Michael Marum.
Joshua is not the only player who missed Monday training. There were another two players who also spent the night outside of camp, but Joshua did not give an explanation on his whereabouts, and the coach is still looking for him.
“He had a big night Sunday, and he turned up last night in camp. And he hasn’t returned to training, so again, I have not been informed of his whereabouts, so I’ve asked the team manager to go and talk to him.
“Mackenzie Yer, and Junior Rop, the same thing. Did not turn up for recovery sessions on Monday. It’s really important for us to have medicals after the games, and they only turned up for training this morning. It is sad to see, but the discipline has to be there,” Coach Marum said.
Mackenzie Yer, Joe Joshua, and Junior Rop explained their absence, but a disappointed coach Marum did not accept it, sidelining the trio from this weekend’s Intrust Super Cup round four matches against the East Tigers.
“I spoke briefly to Mackenzie and Junior Rop this morning. They told me they were just at home with their families. And to us, this is not good enough. We put the team first, so that’s just one week,” says Marum.
Marum is yet to come up with a final penalty for the trio, with sidelining them the first step.
“And there’s a fine involved, so normally you got first warning, second warning, so they will be getting letters,” says Coach Marum.
With the three straight losses, and now with the disciplinary issues, the coach and the wider public are not taking things likely.
“Everyone else, the supporters and the sponsors too, since the team is not doing well, we need to tighten up on those areas, like the attitude of the players,” Marum said.