Hunters’ return delayed

Sports

ELECTION-RELATED unrest in Papua New Guinea has prompted the Queensland Rugby League to delay the SP Hunters’ long-awaited homecoming by a week at least.
The league informed the Hunters that next Saturday’s Hostplus Cup game against Townsville Blackhawks in Port Moresby would not proceed as scheduled.
With the potential for further socio-political unrest in PNG, the league sought expert advice ahead of the Hunters’ proposed homecoming match.
League chief executive Rohan Sawyer said advice suggested the risk of travelling to PNG was high due to the general election.
“We’ve carefully considered all aspects of the situation,” he said.
“In the interests of the health and safety of the teams, we’ve made the decision to move the round-18 match from Port Moresby to the Gold Coast. It’s important to note that this decision is for this game only, and we’re really hopeful the games that are scheduled to be played at the National Football Stadium in PNG later this month can proceed.” Sawyer acknowledged the sacrifices of the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored Hunters in recent years. “The Hunters’ board and management have worked tirelessly throughout a two-and-a-half-year relocation to bring the team back to PNG for the first time since 2019,” he said.
“We feel for the players, management and staff, as well as the fans in PNG who were so eagerly awaiting the return of the Hunters and live Hostplus Cup rugby league in Port Moresby next weekend.
“We’ll continue to monitor the situation and do everything possible to ensure the Hunters have the opportunity to get back home and play the game they love in front of their valued fans and sponsors.”
Meanwhile, the Hunters face Sunshine Coast Falcons in round 17 at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Sunday (3.15pm kick-off). Fixtures: Sat, Aug 6 – Blackhawks v Pride, Magpies v Devils, Cutters v Capras; Sun, Aug 7 – Dolphins v Wynnum Manly, Tweed Heads v Bears, Falcons v Hunters.

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