By MELTON PAIS
THE Enga Mioks are hoping to lump more misery on competition leaders the Lae Tigers this weekend when the sides meet in their round 11 Digicel Cup fixture at the Lae Rugby League ground.
Mioks coach Timothy Lepa is confident his side can win in the Morobe capital given the home side were out-muscled and out-enthused in their last two matches by the Hela Wigmen and Port Moresby Vipers.
For Tigers coach Stanley Tepend, the challenge will be to manage his side through the slump and ensure his men can reset and start building momentum for the finals.
The Lae Biscuit Company-backed franchise were upset 38-12 by the bottom-placed Port Moresby Vipers at the NFS last Sunday after the Hela Wigmen handed them their first loss (16-10) of the season at home the week before.
The Tigers (14 points) could still hang on to the No.1 spot if they lose, provided the Wigmen (13) fail to beat Agmark Gurias (11) in Kokopo this weekend.
The Mendi Muruks (12), who play the Waghi Tumbe (6) in Minj, can advance to second place with a win over the Jiwaka side.
Lepa admitted that his side would still face an uphill battle against the Tigers regardless of the home side’s form but added that the Mioks had always enjoyed great support from their fans in Lae and coupled with the extra week off after last round’s clash with the Muruks in Wabag was canceled, as well as their own form — they have won their last four matches — they were in a positive frame of mind heading in.
“The Tigers were in good form from round one to eight but they’ve lost two in a row at home and on the road so we’re hoping to do well against them,” Lepa said.
“We’re hoping to be the second team to beat them at home this year.”
On 10 points, the Mioks need to win all their remaining matches including Sunday’s match to have a chance of clinching a top four berth.
Lepa conceded that the Tigers have the bigger names in their side but his side had been galvanized by the election troubles in their province over the last week and would use that to spur them on.
By MELTON PAIS