Marum announces Hunters train-on squad


FORMER Q-Cup five-eighth of the year and Papua New Guinea Hunters captain Israel Eliab is one of seven notable inclusions in Michael Marum’s pre-season 50-man squad released this week.
Albert brothers Stanton and Wellington, who were formerly with National Rugby League club Penrith Panthers, have been named after not having their contracts renewed.
Lae Tigers in-form back-rower and pioneer Hunter David Loko makes a return, along with teammate Noel Joel, and Willie Minoga, who was released by the Townsville Blackhawks  after a one-year stint away.
The other player is Lawrence Tu’u, who was not considered this season because of ongoing visa issues.
Eliab spent a season with the English second division side the London Broncos but returned home in the hopes of making the Kumuls squad for next year’s rugby league World Cup.
Loko, who was out of favour after a stellar 2014 with the Hunters, forces his way back into the squad after two standout seasons in the Digicel Cup, culminating with a premiership win this year.
The 21 current Hunters players from the last season’s 26-man squad vying for a spot in the final 30-man squad are: Adex Wera, Gahuna Sailas, Noel Zeming, Edward Goma, Brandy Peter, Ismael Balkawa, Stargroth Amean, Bland Abavu, Nickson Borana, Enock Maki, Wartovo Puara Junior, Henry Wan, Esau Siune, Ase Boas, Warren Glare, Watson Boas, William Aquila, Philemon Kimisive, Tuvi Lepan, Benjamin Hetra and Butler Morris.
Three players have also left the club to play for other clubs in Australia. They are Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm, NRL), Thompson Teteh (Redcliffe Dolphins, Q-Cup) and Timothy Lomai (Burleigh Bears, Q-Cup).
Atte Bina Wabo and Adam Korave were omitted from the 2017 squad.
Selectors have also included 17 players from the Digicel Cup competition, with one from the Southern Confederate.
SP Hunters coach Michel Marum said the squad would assemble in Port Moresby on Dec 4 to start a gruelling pre-season training programme for three weeks.

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