Going out to rugby league’s heartland

Sports

Hello to all our SP PNG Hunters friends and families. Welcome to the 8th edition of this column in the official newspaper — The National.
At the invitation of our sponsors – Exxon Mobil PNG – I was invited along with Stanton Albert, William Mone and NRL PNG Manager Cathy Neap up to the Hides LNG plant last week.
There we witnessed selection trials for the newly established Komo Rugby League Association. We were then given the opportunity to speak afterwards and run through the basics of rugby league with the players.
Rugby league is a powerful tool that can be used to transform societies, and it was really encouraging to see the huge turnout from the people who are more than ever committed to restoring peace in the Hela.
I also visited West New Britain where I got to meet the Kimbe Cutters players and offer some encouragement to the new club. I believe this team will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.
Kokopo was my final stop watching a well-organised National Schools Rugby League competition, and then running a few drills with boys and girls in the Under-14, U16 and U18 divisions. East New Britain is leading the way in developing the next crop of Kumuls and Orchids.
Now to this weekend. Returning from the bye week, I’ve made some changes most notably Adex Wera to fullback, Bland Abavu to the wing and Justin Yoka starting at halfback pushing Charlie Simon to the bench.
Training has gone well this week and the team is looking good for this Sunday at home at the Oil Search National Football Stadium. I call on our supporters to come out and cheer us on to a win this Sunday.
We have a good record against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls having won seven games out of the nine times we’ve met. Our only two losses were away games back in 2014 (28-10) and 2015 (36-18).
I’m confident we can maintain this record.
One of our own – Edene Gabbie – is coming down with the Seagulls. The Koiari lad is in top form right now leading the competition with 66 tackle breaks to his name and is one player we’ll want to contain. We’re looking forward to taking him on.
Congratulations to the winning teams from Round 6 of the Digicel Cup. Two players – Terry Wapi (Agamrk Rabaul Gurias) and Smith Siviri (PRK Gulf Isou), who have been performing week-in-week-out have been rewarded with a call up to come into camp to trial with the Hunters.
So to all players in our semi-professional national competition, remember that hard work pays off so keep doing your best.
Finally, congratulations to former PNG Kumul and Hunters assistant coach Nigel Hukula on his appointment as head coach for the PNG Orchids and to a current Kumul James Segeyaro on his signing with the Brisbane Broncos this week.
Please do keep writing to the Hunters Forum. We take note and do appreciate it. Keep sending your views and comments and any questions to [email protected]
Until next week time, play safe, play hard and play fair in whatever sports you are taking part in.

Cheers Mikez

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