MENDI Muruks duo Nelson Yei and Wesa Tenza were targeted players brought into the SP Hunters pre-season training, an official says.
Yei and Tenza were 2021 Digicel Cup second-rower of the year and hooker of the year respectively.
Both players were late inclusions by coach Matthew Church in the second-half of 2022 pre-season.
The duo joined the team last week and are into their second week of training.
Lae Tigers forward Junior Rop also joined the SP Brewery-sponsored side along with Yei and Tenza.
“We have been specific with players we have targeted and who we have brought into the side,” Church said.
“Wesa (Tenza) comes in as reigning Digicel Cup hooker of the year and Nelson (Yei) comes in as reigning back-rower of the year.
“So they (Tenza and Yei) were targeted players that we’ve brought in. “With Edwin Ipape not in the programme any longer and having to remove Epel (Kapinias), we were looking to replace them and these two players were targeted and brought in.”
Church said Junior Rop was a good replacement for Kapinias.
“Junior Rop has been fairly consistent at Digicel Cup level as well and I felt like losing a fair bit of experience like Epel, he (Rop) can fill the void there in terms of that,” he said.
The Australian said players who joined the team late still had a chance to compete for the 26 spots in the final squad that will be travelling to Queensland, Australia, at the end of the month.
“The final squad will be announced on Jan 26 so these players will still have the fair opportunity to compete for spots.
“They came into the camp all fit and ready so now it’s up to them to train hard in the remaining weeks and compete for spots.”