The National, Tuesday, May 3, 2011
By KEVIN TEME
THE Wantok Gaming System Mt Hagen Eagles have taken on an ominous look this year heading into this year’s Digicel Cup.
WGS Eagles management has played the provincial card in naming an impressive list of players, all of whom have origins in Western Highlands.
Top signings are Kumuls playmaker Dion Aiye, forwards Francis Ray and George Moni and fringe representative players Ham Tee and Simon Young.
Experienced intercity cup campaigners George Baker, Steven Neng, Emmanuel Kunjil, David Rombuk and Jason Tali have transformed the team formerly known as the Kuris from easy beats to real premiership contenders.
Eagles final 17 will be announced today from the initial 30-man squad to take on a Toyota Enga Mioks, missing the bulk of last year’s playing roster, at the Johnson Siki Oval in Wabag this Sunday.
WGS Eagles chairman John Kala was not quick to grab onto favourites tag but said he had no doubt the franchise would be a major player this season.
“The odds on that premiership favourites tag might vary throughout the season but we’re confident the boys will be there at the business end,” Kala said during the Digicel Cup launch in Port Moresby last Saturday.
Since the inception of the intercity competition in 1990, the Eagles are credited with winning the title twice (1997-1998) but have made the grand final on four other occassions (1990-1992 and 2008) and have produced a steady flow of Kumuls.
The Eagles slumped to their worst season in 2009 finishing last and then had the ignominy of being replaced by the Kuris last year.
This year, with a new competition and a return to the original Eagles name along with a team stacked with the province’s best available talent, Kala is confident they have returned to the good old days when the Eagles were genuine contenders.
The WGS Eagles squad: Robert Benny, Jason Mawa, Garry Lo, Baker, Elizah Don, Danny Aaron, Paul Wawa, Tee, Ray, Rombuk, Tali, Leo Koipa, Alex Apa, Willie Guambo, Kunjil, Aiye, Moni, Neng, Young, David Adams, Stanley Baita, Jonathan Tiri, Roderick Kelly, Bamu Talingapua, Sent Angra David Lapua, Joe Joshua, Lionel Ongke, Richard Andrias and Henry Wan.