By JACK AMI
GOILALA rake Allen Pio has commended Central Dabari for giving him the opportunity to trial with the Digicel Cup rookies.
The Dabaris are putting their 100-man squad — made up of rural-based and Port Moresby Rugby League (PRL) talent — through trials before they determine their final squad for the Digicel Cup.
“I thank the selectors for giving me the opportunity to trial with the side,” said Pio, who represented the Junior Kumuls in late 2000.
Pio said he was determined to make head coach Chris Enara’s final 40-man squad.
But he is not the only Goilala man participating in the trials, as Michael George is also aiming to make the cut.
Yesterday at the Apex Park, Pio was fitted in the hooking position by coach Bagelo Solien and was promising in running the combinations between the forwards and backs.
Pio, 28, from Kosipe village, played in the Southern Zone U19 and senior sides between 2013 and 2016.
He made the Southern Zone sides while playing for the Hanuabada Hawks.
In 2017, when the Central Premier League was established, the Goilala Karukas named Pio as their skipper.
“I’m so proud to be part of the training squad and to play my first trial match won’t be an easy task against the PRL players,” Pio said.
“This is my first trial for a franchise team in the Digicel Cup and I’m looking forward to doing my best.
“I know it’s going to be tough but coach Solien has directed me to play my cards right.
“For now, I have to stick to the basics.
“No Goialala players have played at the Digicel Cup level and I want to be the first to do so.”
Pio said he wanted to be a role model for all the Goilala players and encourage them to improve their game.
Solien said he was impressed with how Pio directed play in attack.
Solien said he also had a fair distribution of players in Gillespie David, Francis Aihi, Junior Oki Pom South, Tautau Moga (Koiari), Tekila Kini (Aroma Coast), Manau Egu (Gaire), Kari Baeau (Hiri-West) and Kosman Rahe (Hiri-East).
There are also potential players in the other district teams training under Vagi Vali.
They are shaping up for the trials against the PRL and Koiari sides at Bava Park on Friday.
By JACK AMI