The National, Friday 14th June 2013
By JOHN PANGKATANA
THE Digicel Cup has rewarded the Southern Highlands capital of Mendi with a bumper double-header to spice up the start of the second half of the country’s elite rugby league competition.
The Joe Keviame Oval plays host to reigning champions Agmark Rabaul Gurias against the home team PRK Mendi Muruks and inform city slickers Stop N Shop Port Moresby Vipers take on the Kemele Hela Wigmen.
Despite the Muruks languishing at the wrong end of the points table, you can expect a much closer result than their first round 36-12 belting in Kokopo.
The Gurias don’t seem to perform to expectation in the Highlands and coupled with injuries to key players in Albert Patak and Wartovo Puara Jr, they will be under the pump to perform.
Ase Boas should again prove hard to keep out with Muruks skipper Wesley Benny and his charges likely to keep close tabs on the nippy halfback.
In the other clash, the Vipers may miss the services of playmaker Israel Eliab and rake Charlie Wabo through injury, but that will not stop their rampaging forwards in Larson Marabe, Enoch Maki, Sebastian Pandia and Steven Johns making their presence felt.
Wigmen’s playmaker Kewa Kili, centres Oliver Kerry, Johnny Kema and fullback Felix Tangue have a tough assignment ahead but an upset would not be a surprise as the Helas have been solid all year.
In Mount Hagen, a revived Wamp Nga Mt Hagen Eagles could take sweet revenge against Lae Snax Tigers going on their current form at home.
The Tigers should see former Guria’s Junior Pangogo and Kot Kerowa lining up with Peter Sanivalu, Sydney Fred, Elvis Dick and Rex Reto to provide the punch through the forwards.
In Kundiawa, the Enga Mioks look to be hitting their straps but will not find the job easy against the TNA Simbu Lions playing before their home crowd.
In Port Moresby, the Bintangor Lahanis of Goroka are primed for a huge Round 10 when they take on PRK Gulf Isapea in an expected physical encounter at the Lloyd Robson Oval.