Hunters eye strong finish


IT will be all about hunger and desire for the PNG Hunters over the remaining three rounds of the Q-Cup and it starts on Saturday against the Townsville Blackhawks, according to coach Michael Marum.
After naming the same team that saw off the Ipswich Jets (20-4) last Saturday at the NFS, Marum said his side were keen on finishing the regular season off strongly and earning the minor premiership as a bonus.
If Marum’s side finish on top it will be the first time for the club since joining the competition in 2014.
Marum said his side would have to show intent and commitment this weekend against the Blackhawks, who are themselves fighting for a finals berth.
“We’re aiming to win at least two of our last three games to secure number one spot and the minor premiership,” Marum said.
The Hunters host the Wynnum Manly Seagulls — a side out of finals contention but in good late season form — in round 24 before finishing off the season with a grudge match away against the Tweed Heads Seagulls.
“It won’t be easy against the Blackhawks this weekend so all we want is our best performance out there.”
The Blackhawks are in sixth place on 28 points and need to win on Saturday to keep their finals hopes alive.
“We beat them before in Townsville in 2015 and we have a good fan base down there with the PNG community so hopefully we go there and get the two points,” Marum said.
Prop Esau Siune (knee) and three-quarter Adex Wera (back) were left out of the squad with Marum opting to stay with Brandy Peter and Butler Morris. Peter, however, is also in doubt after taken ill on Sunday.
“We’ve named Brandy Peter in the starting team but he hasn’t trained over the past two days, he picked up an allergy after the game,” Marum said.
“He is still spending time with the doctor getting treatment but we have Enoch Maki to cover for him.
“We don’t travel until Friday but I am concerned about Brandy’s fitness because he struggled a bit last week against the Jets in the first 10 minutes and his already missed sessions so we probably might leave him behind.
“Both Adex Wera and Esau Siune are still on recovery so they will probably miss out again this weekend as well.”
Marum spoke of the Blackhawks as a side that had NRL experience, a big forward pack posing them as a side that will be hard to beat at Jack Manski Oval.
Despite hiccups from last week, Marum said the team looks more energetic this week and were focused on the task ahead.
Hunters: 1. Stargroth Amean, 2. Bland Abavu, 3. Israel Eliab, 4. Willie Minoga, 5. Butler Morris, 6. Ase Boas (C), 7. Watson Boas, 8. Wellington Albert, 9. Wartovo Puara Jr, 10. Brandy Peter, 11. David Loko, 12. Nixon Put, 13. Stanton Albert; Reserves: 14. Enock Maki, 15. Moses Meninga, 16. Rhadley Brawa, 17. Karo Kauna Jr, 18. Muka Peter Kulu, 19. Esau Siune, 20. Paul Wawa, 21. Sailas Gahuna.

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