By ISAAC LIRI
THE SP PNG Hunters line up unchanged for the Q-Cup grand final against the Sunshine Coast Falcons on Sunday.
Coach Michael Marum did not make any changes to the side that beat the Redcliffe Dolphins 6-4 in the major semifinal more than a week ago.
The opposition has kept it simple as well with Falcons’ mentor Craig Ingebrigtsen staying with the team that hammered the Dolphins 40-14 in last Sunday’s preliminary final.
Despite the significance of the match, the Hunters have proceeded with an unchanged attitude all week as they gear up for the biggest game of the season.
Having a week off, all players have recovered and are looking forward to their big game against Falcons.
The Hunters have sore memories with the Melbourne Storm feeder club, the team that broke their hearts by putting an end to their finals hopes last year in the first week of finals with an 18-12 win at the National Football Stadium.
“We got a lot of memories against the Falcons when they beat us last year and it will be interesting for us to square things up with them in a grand final,” Marum said.
“Since our first year in 2014, we’ve played a total of eight games against them and we’ve won four and lost four.
“We beat them once at their home ground with the other three wins here.
“We’ve watched video of their game against the Dolphins on Sunday and they were really good all over the park.
“But we know what to expect from them. They’ve got experience in their side but as long as we go out there with a positive mindset we can do it.
“We trust our preparations after qualifying for the grand final. We’ve really trained well and there is a good vibes in camp.
“We are confident but not to overconfident. We know we’re going out there to give our best and if we can defend the way we did against the Dolphins, we’ll get through.”
Marum spoke of Suncorp Stadium as an interesting venue to play at which has driven much excitement for the SP-sponsored side.
“It will be interesting to play at Suncorp and see how the first 10 minutes go,” he said.
“We’ved watched a few NRL games there to get used to it.
“I know it’s going to be a different atmosphere for the boys but if we can start well in the first 10 minutes then we can build something.”
Marum said any changes to the side would most likely made on Saturday during the captain’s run.
He said the side knew there was a lot of expectation from the fans and the people of Papua New Guinea but he was confident his side would handle the pressure.
“All we can ask is for them to go out there and play the best football they can representing their people back home,” Marum said.
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 Putt 13. Moses Meninga. Interchange: 14. Rahdly Brawa 15. Willie Minoga 16. Enoch Maki 17. Brandy Peter 18. Esau Siune.
Falcons: 1. Guy Hamilton 2. Matthew Soper-Lawler 3. Justin Olam 4. Christopher Lewis 5. Jeremy Hawkins 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Ryley Jacks 18. Tui Kamikamica 9. Brandon Smith 10. Lachlan Timm 11. Dane Hogan (C) 12. Joe Stimson 13. Harrison Muller 14. Alex Bishop 15. Jye Ballinger 16. Jon Grieve 17. Louis Geraghty 19. Martin Cordwell 20. Liam McDonald.
By ISAAC LIRI