The National, Monday February 24th, 2014
ISRAEL Eliab is captain of the Papua New Guinea Hunters.
Eliab, 24, was named captain at the official launching of the Queensland Cup in Port Moresby on Saturday night.
The former Port Moresby Vipers five-eighth, will lead the side into battle in the club’s opening game of the Intrust Super Cup against Redcliffe at the Dolphin Oval on Sunday.
The 18-man travelling squad will be named by head coach Michael Marum tomorrow.
Eliab captained the team in the two trial matches against the Northern Pride and the Central Queensland Capras.
Marum, who said there were many potential candidates, picked Eliab because he had shown leadership qualities from the day the team marched into camp.
A humble Eliab said the players were working hard and would give their best.
The club showed a 45-second commercial to promote home games, events and the club’s theme song.
Those at the launch gave it rave reviews.
Among them were Intrust Super chief executive officer Brendan O’Farrell and Queensland Rugby League CEO Rob Moore, who praised the club for its professionalism.
In his keynote address, Minister for Sports, 2015 Pacific Games and National Events Justin Tkatchenko reiterated the Government’s support for the SP Hunters and the game in the country.
He said the country needed to show patience in rebuilding the game and for Papua New Guineans to get behind the club. National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop announced the 23-man Hunters squad and coaching staff.
Master of Ceremony Johnny Gibbs then auctioned the players’ jerseys and other items.
Eliab’s jersey was the most popular, fetching K6,500, while a limited edition framed and signed team jersey with team photo went for K11,000.
A Queensland jersey signed by Australian Rugby League Immortal Wally Lewis fetched K6,000. The club will auction of an autographed jersey on its Facebook page.
PNGRFL chairman Sandis Tsaka said the night was to thank the club’s sponsors, the National Government, supporters and recognising the coaching staff and players.