Brown, Gotuno dropped

Sanny Wabo

COACH Matthew Church has dropped backs Brendon Gotuno and Norman Brown from the train-on squad over their fitness, barely a month into the SP Hunters’ pre-season preparations.
The pair have been replaced by premiership-winning Lae Tigers fullback Sanny Wabo and Port Moresby Vipers Academy youngster Kingston Paraia.
“We have higher standards for the 2022 season, so Brown and Gotuno were just not prepared when they returned to camp,” Church said.
“They just didn’t work hard enough to be part of the 2022 squad.
“So unfortunately, we have sent them back.
“They have to work on what they need to.
“It’s not a ‘no’ for them, but a ‘not now’.
“So we’ve brought in Wabo and Paraia.”
Meanwhile, Church said all 14 new players in the 32-man squad were setting standards in the second week of training.
He said the old faces were also making strides with the aim of securing a spot in the final 26-man squad.
“Camp has been great and the new players are energetic in training and they are pushing for a spot in the final squad,” Church said.
“It’s always good to get the returning players back. They are helping the new players and showing them how we want to play.
“We are focusing on fitness at this stage of the, so we have elevated our intensity.
“We have been hard on them at training. It’s a big learning experience for me as a coach to put in a bit more work and help our players get down to Australia.”
Church said his side were focusing on ball skills and attack in the second week of training.

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