By ISAAC LIRI
THE mission is not quite over for the SP Hunters as they head to Sydney today for Sunday’s interstate challenge against the Penrith Panthers.
Coach Michael Marum said after their Q-Cup grand final success last week he saw the match at ANZ Stadium as a great opportunity for his side to gain more experience in big match occasions.
“Going down to Sydney and playing at the ANZ Stadium is a bonus for us,” Marum said.
“We’ve set some new goals and we want to play well and win this match.
“It’ll be tough because Penrith have a big pack and some of their NRL first graders will play.”
“But we’re just going to concentrate on our game, cut the mistakes down and play our style.”
The game is very much uncharted waters for the Hunters but Marum said they would be taking the same approach as they had done for the Q-Cup final.
The Panthers have several players with NRL first grade experience with hooker Mitch Rein and forwards Moses Leota, Sitaleki Akauola, Sione Katoa and Viliame Kikau— who has played tests for the Fiji Bati —all having played in the top grade.
Marum said his side’s defence was the most impressive aspect of their Q-Cup final win but admitted that they would have to be better in all departments if they were to accomplish the double.
He said the fact that their match would have a large live and TV audience was another incentive to play well, given NRL clubs would be watching the action.
“The boys have been really good in camp with a lot of excitement with the tour of the cup.
“We’ve started training well and we know that it will be a bonus to go that extra step.
“We’ve done a review of the Panthers and seen how they play so the boys have a fair idea now so we’ll have to concentrate on our game plan, we’ll have to cut out some of those errors again and maintain strong in defence again.
Having played the NSW Cup Penrith Panthers in a trial game before Marum says this Sunday will be different from the game early last year. “At that time both teams were just trialing their squads and we were trying out players at various positions.
“This time it’s going to be totally different with both teams going in with their best players.”
The interstate clash kicks off at 2.40pm on Sunday at the ANZ Stadium before the NRL grand final between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys.
Hunters: 1. Stargroth Amean 2. Wawa Paul 3. Bland Abavu 4. Adex Wera 5. Butler Morris 6. Ase Boas (C) 7. Watson Boas 8. Wellington Albert 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Stanton Albert 11. David Loko 12. Nixon Put 13. Moses Meninga Reserves: 14.Rhadley Brawa 15. Willie Minoga 16. Enoch Maki 17. Brandy Peter 18. Esau Siune.
By ISAAC LIRI