Hunters leave for Australia

Sports
Playmaker Solomon Pokari (left) and fellow SP Hunters squad members departing Jackson International Airport in Port Moresby yesterday. – Nationalpic by JOEL HAMARI

PRIME Minister James Marape has challenged the SP Hunters to play well for the country.
He is positive they can bring the Queensland Intrust Super Cup title home.
Marape said that when farewelling the Hunters at Jackson International Airport in Port Moresby yesterday.
The Hunters will be based in Queensland for the upcoming season.
This is because of Covid-19 protocols that limit the movement of players between Papua New Guinea and Australia.
Marape said the country was proud that the Hunters’ management had selected and assembled the best squad for the upcoming season.
He said the entire country, PNG Rugby Football League (PNGRFL), sponsors Kumul Petroleum, National Gaming Control Board and South Pacific Brewery were right behind the Hunters.
“This is a ground-breaking event for us as a country to relocate one of our national franchises, the SP Hunters, to Queensland, “ Marape said.
“This is the start of a journey that can be something bigger and better for us as we push for the concept of PNG fielding a team in Australia’s National Rugby League.
“I urge you players to grab this opportunity.”
Marape said the sponsors would be looking at other areas like welfare, education and life beyond sports for players.
“Congratulations to each and every one of you,” he said.
“You play your sport, live up to your potential and represent your country as well as your family.
“The country is proud of you all.”
Meanwhile, the team will undergo a 14-day quarantine in Brisbane.
PNGRFL chief executive Stanley Hondina said Queensland Rugby League would provide some training equipment, which the Hunters would use for indoor training while in quarantine.
The traveling contingent comprises 25 players and five coaching staff, including head coach Matthew Church.
“Unfortunately, when they get out of quarantine, they will have only 10 days before the season starts.
“It is the worst-case scenario but it’s out of our control.
“Fortunately, we have a plan to take care of it and it has now become our last option.
“Our boys (players) are prepared for this and they knew the sacrifices that they had to commit to and we are confident they will be ready for their opening match on March 20.
“The Hunters will be based at Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast.”

11 comments

  • All the world’s best and play for your country, PNG. The 8.5 million Papua News Guineans are with you boys, not forgetting the training; coaching staff and the whole SP Hunters Management Team.
    God Bless you all
    Cheers

  • All the best wishes to you all the players & coaching staff…play like sportsmen & bring the cup to PNG. We are at back off you when you step into the field. The country is at the back of you.
    GOD bless you all.

    Cheers.

  • An opportunity for our players there, your goal for being there is to play, throw everything you have on the field but play safe. Go for the finals and win for PNG.
    Good luck boys and the team.

  • Hi! Guys…
    World Cup in England is just around the corner. Train hard, play real sportsmanship and be there. with you fellows.

  • My congratulations to you all including PNGRFL & Sponsors. However, backhome our local leagues are struggling to survive due to the fact PNGRFL is paying too much attention on the Hunters and Digicel Cup Competition.

    I suggest before the competition season starts this year PNGRFL should do an all out audit on all leagues through out the country on their respective finances and general governance. Such should be a way forward for transparency and accountability by league officials including respective club managements.

    PNGRFL should also make it mandatory for those clubs fighting for a spot in the Digicel Cup Competition including the current clubs to have a local competition running in their provinces or towns. This has been weaken over the years leaving some league competitions in provinces weakened or non functional. Some clubs in the current Digicel Cup Competition are with out a home ground and local competition running and they profess to be flag carriers of their provinces or region but that’s not the case. Such should also be used as a stimulant to promote our socio economic growth in the provinces.

    Strengthening our local competitions would strengthen our player base like in the past. Currently our player base has weakened and lacks quality. We see the same faces of players moving from clubs to clubs every year.

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