Hunters set for awards


THE 2016 SP Papua New Guinea  Hunters’ presentation night takes place tomorrow at Gateway Hotel, Port Moresby.
Hunters chief executive officer Bob Cutmore said the event would be similar to last year’s edition and would have the usual awards and accolades given out to the season’s best performers.
“The Hunters are having their presentation night on Saturday and it’ll be the last engagement for the team before they start their eight-week break on Monday,” Cutmore said.
Cutmore would not confirm the special guests who were on the schedule but said the venue had seating for up to 300 guests including the Hunters team and management and board as well as the PNGRFL executive.
He confirmed that Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko was one of the dignitaries expected at the function.
Among the acknowledgements to be handed out, the coveted Player of the Year award sits on top of the pile.
Israel Eliab picked up the 2015 gong with this year’s award believed to be a close three-way tussle between star back Justin Olam, hooker cum halfback Wartovo Puara Jr and five-eighth Ase Boas.
Olam looks set to scoop the awards night with the 22-year-old in the running for the Top Tryscorer, Best Back and Rookie of the Year awards.
The other awards to be given out are the People’s Choice award, Players’ Player, Coach’s award, Man of Steel award and the PNGRFL Chairman’s Bow and Arrow award.
Captain Noel Zeming looks set to take out the top point scorer (120 points) award despite missing 10 games during the season.
Olam’s 14 tries, while not as impressive as Eilab’s 22 last year or Gary Lo’s 24 from 2014, is well ahead of nearest challenger in Adex Wera’s 11 for the season.
Competing for the Best Forward’s gong are probably only two men: Brandy Peter’s evolution into an elite forward was stamped this season with the burly Southern Highlander among the best in the Hunters pack week in week out; Timothy Lomai’s season has also been noteworthy after a stint out of the Hunters fold earlier in the year – both he and Peter surprised many with their consistency and quality.
Olam will have some competition for the Best Back award with Wera, Bland Abavu and Thompson Teteh strong contenders.
Puara’s stellar form at dummy half and his seamless transition to first reciever mid-way through the season marks him as a club great in the making and he could well add another Man of Steel award to the one he picked up last year.
The club’s other stand outs in 2016 have been Warren Glare ( best tackler), Adam Korave (leadership and aggression), Gahuna Silas (impact), Esau Siune (best metre-gainer) and Benjamin Hetra (best bench forward).

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