Posted By Staff Reporter
PAPUA New Guinea Hunters coach Michael Marum knows that the opening rounds of this year’s Queensland Cup will be tougher than their debut season as the side gears up for their second assault on Australia’s best second tier competition.
Marum and his coaching staff are focused on developing the talented players brought into the squad for the season to blend in with the experienced players from 2014.
Despite losing six top line players last year the door is still open for Wartovo Puara Junior and Thompson
Teteh, who are halfway through a six-week train and trial arrangement with National Rugby League premiers South Sydney.
“We have named a 26-man squad, depending on Warts and Thompson’s trial with South Sydney,” Marum said. “With the addition of the new players identified throughout 2014 we have a very strong and talented squad.
“It’s fantastic that some of our players
have gone on to trial with NRL sides and it now gives the next crop of players a chance to step up and take the opportunity they have been given.
“The competition for spots is intense and we have seen a real lift in the quality of training,” the former Kumul said.
“We have worked very hard in the off-season and I know the boys are looking forward to our first trial game against Ipswich on February 21.”
The 41-year-old said the club had a full preparation and it is showing.
“The boys from last year are bigger, stronger and fitter.
“They have that experience now from a full season in the competition and know what to expect.
“The new guys have adapted well and are training the house down.
“We have a very big, strong, talented squad with a number of players who can play different positions.
“It’s a new-look squad but one I am very excited about.”
The Hunters player losses in 2014 were: Gary Lo (Gateshead, UK), Jason Tali (Gateshead, UK), Mark Mexico (released), Wartovo Puara Jr (South Sydney), Thompson Teteh (South Sydney), David Loko (released), Tiger Emere (released), Gonzella Urakusie (released), Noel Joel (released), Dion Aiye (Whitehaven, UK).
The Hunters 2015 season launch will take place on Feb 28 in Port Moresby. Special guests include NRL personality Phil Gould.
The Hunters play the Souths Logan Magpies at Davis Park, Brisbane, on Sunday, March 8.
Hunters: Adex Wera, Adam Korave, Brandy Peter, Edward Goma, Esau Siune, Geroge Benson, Israel Eliab, Lawrence Tu’u, Noel Zemming, Roger Laka, Sebastian Pandia, Timothy Lomai, William Minoga, Kato Ottio, Ase Boas, Stargoth Amean, Warren Glare, Philemon Kimisive, Henry Wan, David Lapua, Ate Bina Wabo, Jay Jay Garrison, Bland Abavu, Enock Maki, Wartovo Puara*, Thompson Teteh*.
NB: * Pending the South Sydney six-week trial. The National