Church plans backup


SP Hunters coach Mathew Church says he is open to recruiting Papua New Guinea players who are based in Queensland for next year’s Intrust Super Cup season.
He said the Hunters’ relocation to southeast Queensland next year was likely to see a squad of 30, but admitted that it may not be enough for the season with players prone to injury.
“The logistics of having to relocate is very hard to do so we’re trying to work around a squad of 30 to relocate to Queensland,” Church said.
“In a normal Intrust Super Cup season, you generally use up to 35-40 players, so where do I find those extra five or 10 players?
“So I will be looking into PNG players who are based in Queensland.
“I think we all saw through the National Rugby League, the goodwill that was around the New Zealand Warriors and their relocation.
“I don’t want to dilute what the Hunters stand for and that’s a pathway for PNG people.
“It’s not an easy process of sending one over from PNG, they’ve got to go through a two-week quarantine
“When you’re relocating to southeast Queensland, you need to look at the balance of the squad so you’re essentially naming two teams of 13, a double for each position.”
The Australian said he had already established contact with a few Queensland-based PNG players and was looking at how they could support the Hunters who will be playing an entire season away from home.
“I’ve spoken to (PNG Kumuls trio) Daniel Russell, Kyle Laybutt and Luke Page about how they can help,” Church said.
“Not necessarily to play for us (Hunters) but that option is on the table and we will explore that if we can.”

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