By ISAAC LIRI
FORMER Hunters skipper Israel Eliab and outside back Bland Abavu’s absence in the PNG Hunters pre-season training will see the pair being omitted from the 2018 train-on squad.says
Coach Michael Marum said yesterday the club did not get any message from the two senior players on when they were returning and he didn’t hesitate to rule them out.
“Israel Eliab and Bland Abavu didn’t turn up, there was no communication from them so we just decided to cut them off first and see if they can go back and play Digicel Cup and work their way back in because we don’t have that much time to wait for these players to come back,” Marum said.
“If they fail to turn up, they don’t deserve to be in the side, there are a lot of young boys that want to be in the side and we got enough players we can pick from to cover their positions.
“I’m not really sure if both have studies to concentrate on or employment and that sort of thing but it would be good if someone could send us a message and advise us on what they are doing,” Marum said.
With pre-season training in progress since last week, Marum clarified that the 10 Hunters players who were part of the PNG Kumuls were allowed extra time off and would join the team early next month.
The team will also welcome back former co-captain and lock forward Adam Korave who would provide guidance in camp due to his experience and release Hunters pioneer forward Esau Siune who had announced his retirement.
“We brought back Adam Korave to the side. He spent one year in Ipswich with the local club down there and he is back here and has been given a chance, so hopefully he trains well and gets into the final squad.
“Esau Siune is up in Chimbu, he retired last year and we are trying to work out ways in how we can engage him and use him as one of the Hunters scouts or development officers up in the Highlands regions so we are still in discussion with the Hunters board,” Marum said.
“He has been one of our faithful players, his attitude is good and he is a good leader so we need those sorts of people like Esau to go out and speak to the kids.” Other players released from the club are Brandy Peter and Karo Kauna Jr.
Marum is impressed with the new and young players in the Hunters train-on squad and commends them for pushing themselves and understanding how hard it is to train in the Intrust Super Cup level.
Meanwhile, the Hunters’ major sponsor SP Brewery is planning to bring some excitement into the fan base of the club.
SP Lager brand manager Josh Wheeler said this season was a successful one and SP Brewery affirmed its long term partnership with Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League and was looking forward to another great year.
“As naming rights sponsor we cannot go higher than that but what we want to bring next year is excitement for the fans in terms of the experience they can have on game day,” Wheeler said.
“What we are going to do is to provide the support for (Hunters coach) Michael Marum and his team so they do their best on the field. Our job is to make sure we give the fans added benefit for coming to watch the games.”
The current 24-man squad: 1. AdexWera 2. Butler Morris 3. Muka Peter Kulu, 4. Rhadley Brawa 5. Sailas Gahuna 6. Paul Wawa 7. William Mone 8. Adam Korave 9. Junior Rau 10. Mekenzie Yei 11. Kennedy Ben 12. Julius Yakopa 13. Stanley Olo 14. Illa Alu 15. Dilbert Isaac 16. Junior Bobby 17. Baunda Aba 18. Brendan Gotuno 19. John Andy 20. Charlie Simon 21. Gong Morgan 22. Charlie Angu 23. Patrick Morea 24. Joseph Konz.
By ISAAC LIRI