By ISAAC LIRI
SP PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum will be counting on the return of playmaker Ase Boas to make a difference tomorrow against competition leaders Easts Tigers in Brisbane.
Boas, who has been named at halfback, will combine with rookie five-eighth Justin Yoka, who impressed in last week’s 28-26 loss to the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
With the reshuffling of the halves combination over the last three weeks and the 2017 Q-Cup premiers yet to register a win, many are counting on this combination to work out and a win away from home against the Tigers to turn the tide for the PNG side.
The Hunters record against the Tigers since entering the competition in 2014 is three wins, three losses and a draw.
The Hunters have yet to win at Langlands Park with the closest they came being a 20-20 draw in the first meeting between the clubs in 2014.
“I think Justin Yoka will be expecting more pressure now because the other teams will probably have watched his game from last week’s video session,” Marum said.
“I think Justin just has to work on his kicking but then we have Ase back so he’ll do most of our kicking.
“We’ve haven’t won at Tigers home ground so its’ going to be tough but we want to go out there and play our best game. We believe in the side we’ve selected.
“They’ll probably be underestimating us a little so that should work for us.”
Boas’s return will also see him combine with captain Adex Wera, Bland Abavu, Wawa Paul and Junior Rau in the backline and Moses Meninga, Stanton Albert and Enoch Maki in the forwards. Marum said earlier in the week that Boas’s, pictured, return had boosted the morale in camp and he hoped they settled down into a rhythm and they continued to improve from game to game.
Shane Haro, Woods Kawage, Kevin Appo and Epel Kapinias are set to make their debuts for the Hunters while Jack Oii is the 18th man.
Jordan Pat and Jerry Teme dropped out of the extended bench.
Hunters: 1. Bland Abavu 2. Junior Rau 3. Shane Haro 4. Adex Wera (c) 5. Wawa Paul 6. Justin Yoka 7. Ase Boas 8. Moses Meninga (vc) 9. Charlie Simon 10. Enoch Maki 11 Kevin Appo 12. Epel Kapinias 13. Stanton Albert; Interchange: 14. Woods Kawage 15. Baundo Aba 16. Dilbert Isaac 17. Brendon Nima 18. Jack Oii.
Rd 4 Fixtures: Sat, March 30 – Ipswich Jets v Northern Pride, Easts Tigers v PNG Hunters, Redcliffe Dolphins v Souths Logan Magpies, CQ Capras v Tweed Heads Seagulls; Sun, March 31 – Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Mackay Cutters, Sunshine Coast Falcons v Norths Devils, Townsville Blackhawks v Burleigh Bears.
By ISAAC LIRI