By ISAAC LIRI
SP PAPUA New Guinea Hunters vice-captain Wellington Albert slots into the No.8 jersey for regular prop Henry Wan this Saturday in their Intrust Super Cup round 11 match against the Ipswich Jets.
Hunters coach Michael Marum revealed his disappointment in Wan’s unavailability but said that the 23-year-old Albert was a capable replacement.
The 193cm, 110kg forward does not lack in experience having had a two-year stint with the Penrith Panthers as well as being one of PNG’s standouts at the 2013 World Cup.
This will be Alberts second match in the starting line-up (the rest have been off the bench) and he will play alongside brother Stanton who has been named at lock.
“Wellington is going to start in the front row, he played well against the Cook Islands in the test match coming off the bench so I believe he’ll be fired up again come this weekend.
“We are disappointed that Henry (Wan) is not going to be in the team but we’ve got Wellington there, and he’ll have support from Enoch Maki coming off the bench, so I think we can cover for that well,” Marum said.
Marum has also named Gahuna Sials on the bench after the live-wire dummy half recovered from a leg injury.
“Gahuna has been training for the last couple of weeks so his a good addition to the bench.”
Marum has also excluded Willie Minoga, who was cited for a dangerous throw and was rubbed out for two games, which includes this weekend’s game.
Apart from the changes Marum says all players are in good condition after two weeks and had a good rest last weekend.
“Everyone is back after the rep weekend and the bye so in two weeks we had a good rest there but some of the players played in the Digicel Cup but last week to keep their match fitness,” Marum said.
Marum will finalise the 18-man travelling side today before flying to Brisbane on tomorrow for the 3pm game, which will be televised live on TVWAN, on Saturday at North Ipswich Reserve. The SP-sponsored side returns on Sunday.
SP Hunters: 1. Stargroth Amean 2. Bland Abavu 3. Israel Eliab 4. Adex Wera 5. Paul Wawa 6. Ase Boas (C) 7. Watson Boas 8. Wellington Albert (VC) 9. Wartovo Puara Junior 10. Esau Siune 11. Nixon Put 12. David Loko 13. Stanton Albert; Reserves: 14. Silas Gahuna 15. Rhadley Brawa 16. Enoch Maki 17. Moses Meninga 18. Ismael Balkawa 19. Muka Peter Kulu 20. Butler Morris
By ISAAC LIRI