Hunters impress all

Normal, Sports

The National, Tuesday March 4th, 2014


IT is certainly early days but the Papua New Guinea Hunters’ 24-18 win over Redcliffe Dolphins on Sunday has created quite a stir.

Almost everybody who watched the win on television was impressed, with the social media inundated with rave reviews on the SP Hunters’ performance. 

Leading media organisations in Australia gave extensive coverage to PNG – something they rarely do unless it is related to something bad in this country. 

The NRL website gave the Hunters a big write-up on Sunday, segments of which were used on other Australian media. Brisbane-based Courier-Mail dedicated a fair-sized article to the Queensland Cup newcomers under the headline “Papua New Guinea Hunters hit the big time with a win and a song”. 

The article reported that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had texted a congratulatory message to the team through Minister for Sports Justin Tkatchenko, who was at the game.

The Courier-Mail, had sent a journalist to cover the Hunters set-up prior to the season opener, and their efforts seemed to have been right on the money – documenting the establishment of a team would create some waves.

After Sunday, they continued the coverage, reporting that Tkatchenko embraced coach Michael Marum shortly after the final siren.

“The boys have worked extra, extra hard for this and it’s vindication for the hard work they have put into it,” Tkatchenko was quoted as saying.

 “The country has gone crazy, the Prime Minister just texted me and said well done to everybody and it’s fantastic. We’re very proud.

“(The World Cup) was a huge disappointment so I’m a very happy Minister to get a run on the board for our team and look forward to many more wins and Queensland be warned, the Hunters are on the move.”

Steve Mascord, a respected rugby league writer, in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald “Set of Six” – wrote that Poachers are Welcome” PNG has a message for NRL scouts.

“Please steal our players. And Manly may be about to take the advice; Set Of Six’s sources at Dolphin Oval during the historic 24-18 win over Redcliffe tell us forward Mark Mexico is on the verge of signing with the Sea Eagles.

Another World Cup Kumul, Wellington Albert, is already on Penrith’s books.

‘’That’s why we have entered a team in this competition,’’ PNG Rugby League chairman Sandis Tsaka said.

‘’NRL scouts don’t come to PNG. We wanted to put our players in a competition where they will be seen.

“If one player leaves, we have 15,000 kids who will want to take his place,” he said, indicating the local following of the sport.

He dedicated the fourth segment titled “It’s a gas” to the Hunters again.

Marum says Australian teams are set for a culturally enriching experience when they visit Kopoko for their away matches.

‘’Back at home, there will probably be a few gas guns outside chasing people away who are trying to get in,’’ Marum is reported to have said. “That’s the way we play the game up there; people are passionate about the game.’’