The National, Friday 24th August 2012
By KEITH PUARIA
THE long wait since that 2011 grand final loss to Goroka Lahanis will end at fulltime on Sunday for the Agmark Gurias, should they come out on top of the visiting Enga Mioks at home, at the Kalabond “graveyard”.
Forget next week, forget the grand final, this Sunday against an equally determined Mioks is ‘D-day’.
Trust Michael Marum when he says he has got a special bunch of boys, they were only schoolboys last year, and has vowed to commit to the cause.
Only two weeks away from the final, it is plain to see that the hard work has paid off, and these “schoolboys” may just ride it all the way.
“What can you say. Hard work paying off,” coach Marum said yesterday.
“We know there is a game to be won on Sunday, and that is our final.
“It’s our last game at home for the season, a big turnout is expected so we want to give our supporters something special.”
It has been a long season, we started early in the off-season and did a lot of work on the areas that we needed to work on,” the former Kumuls assistant coach said.
It was a decision by the team at the end of last season, that’s why we started early.
The return of Rodney Pora, Dion Aiye and Ase Boas added to the commitment and completed the team.”
Marum knows too well that finals football is a whole new ball game, but is confident that he now has the experience of the last season in the bulk of his side.
“Good bye last week, and it gave us the opportunity work on some areas, as well as give our injuries time to mend. Otherwise everyone is fit and just waiting.”
The former Gurias captain is also’ blessed’ this week by the return from long-term injury of Kumul Pidi Togap. “He will bring his finals experience, which is something we have enough of.”
Experience is definitely something that the Gurias will need against an ever-determined Mioks side.
The Engans turned the tables on the Mendi Muruks at home last week 48-20, and there is no doubting what they intend to do in Kokopo.
Assistant Coach Timothy Lepa has entrusted all responsibility on skipper David Loko, after his man of the match showing in Wabag, singling him out as the ‘x-factor’ for the Mioks.
Lepa said during the week in preparation that structure was their strength and that they had spent a lot time working on their structure prior to the finals.
“It is our strength because it gives our boys the direction, while at the same time allow them to play their own game.
The Gurias have always been strong at their home ground, but we have confidence in the things that we have done to make sure that we are ready,” Lepa said.
Kokopo is set to come alive on Sunday with reports confirming full flights into ‘four-lane town’, and masses of support arriving from Kavieng, Kimbe, Manus and Buka.
Pacific sprint queen and Olympiad Toea Wisil is currently in town, and may make a guest appearance.