THE NGIP Agmark Rabaul Gurias will be playing this Sunday’s grand final of the bemobile Cup at Lloyd Robson oval without their big guns and are facing a daunting task to gun down the high-flying Toyota Enga Mioks.
Gurias will be without captain George Moni, Larsen Marabe (both nursing injuries), Rodney Pora and Dion Aiye, who are with the PNG Telikom Kumuls and are not in the camp in Kokopo, making life much tougher for the franchise from the New Guinea Islands region.
Team manager Ted Vere told The National in an interview yesterday from Rabaul, that despite all the injuries and representative duties which have affected their preparations for the final, the boys from Radaz are keen to do the basics right and win the contest on D-day.
The Gurias are now banking on their senior players – Channel Aquila, Sam Ponda and Romalius Mago – to lead their charges from the front and give a boost to their younger players.
“Michael Marum (Gurias coach) has been very busy this week getting the boys prepared and setting a plan for Sunday.It will all boil down to our youngsters rising to the challenge on the day,”Vere said.
Meanwhile, the Mioks are fired up and equally determined to take the Cup up to Enga province and team patron and Governor Peter Ipatas told his charges to play play for themselves firstly and not try to please him has the patron.
“I told my boys to play according to their personal best and they shouldn’t force themselves to please me, but its for their love of the game,” Ipatas said.
The Mioks will have the services of their star halfback Mai Tom off the bench while Mose Lame retains his spot as first choice halfback to lead the Mioks offence.
The franchise from Enga has also come up a with crucial decision to omit rising PNG Kumuls forward Kerry Tapako for unspecified reasons and seasoned five-eighth James Meniga was ruled out from the line because of a serious wrist injury which he sustained the week before the finals series.
But with a depleted Gurias, Mioks are warm favorites to lift the bemobile Cup on Sunday after 80 minutes of what is expected to be classic battle of styles.
Speaking to young Mioks prop, David Loko, earlier in the interview he revealed he would be out this weekend to impress national selectors for a late call up into the Kumuls squad, will be again out to make his presence felt.
Ardent Mioks supporter Peter Ipatas has already chattered a Air Niugini F100 to fly a plane load of Mioks supporters from Mt Hagen tomorrow to watch the grand final at the Lloyd Robson oval.
According to Ipatas rugby league unifies people of Enga province and to see their provincial team in the grand final is a success story for the pride of Enga.