By ISAAC LIRI
THE SP PNG Hunters spine will have to step up on Sunday if they want to register their first Q-Cup win of the season says coach Michael Marum.
After reviewing last weekends’ performance, poor execution in the halves, at dummy half and fullback saw the Hunters fail to register points in their 10-0 loss to the Tweed Head Seagulls but Marum said he was not expecting a repeat of that performance in the second round against the Northern Pride at the Oil Search National Football Stadium.
“There is a lot of work for the halves Charlie Simon and William Mone to do because there are other boys knocking on the door and they know that,” Marum said.“
“I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on them, and this is the second game, so we’ll see how they go, hopefully they step up, especially playing at home.”
Marum admitted the more experienced Simon, pictured, made a better fist of kicking and directing his runners while Mone was not as effect with his touches.
“Executing the plays is one area that we want to do well this weekend because last week we saw a lot of one ups, running to the defence.
Marum said the Pride were coming off a 22-18 win over defending premiers Redcliffe Dolphins and had named four players with NRL experience in North Queensland Cowboys Gideon Gela Mosby, Jake Clifford, Enari Tuala as well as former Hull Kingston Rovers forward Maurice Blair off the bench.
“The Pride had a good win last weekend so its’ going to be a tough one. They have a good record against us so we have to be ready for them.
Centre Adex Wera will be playing his first home game as captain against the Cairns-based side and said his side were focused on getting the win in front of the fans.
“I think we did well in the first half last week but then we failed to maintain that in the second half but that’s all behind us now,” Wera said. “This is going to be my first time to lead the boys in our first home game this year so the pressure will be high but I’m confident we can do it.
“I think defence is something we need to polish up this weekend and also slowing down the play-the-ball.
“The main thing for us this weekend is to get our combinations right. If we can do that then we will be okay.”
Marum said he was unlikely to make any changes to the team that was named on Tuesday.
The last time the two sides met was in Round 18 last year at the NFS where the Hunters won 18-8.
The curtain-raiser will be a Digicel Cup trial match between the Central Dabaris and Gulf Isou which kicks off at 12.15pm.
Hunters play the Pride at 3pm in their first home game for 2019 and Round two of the ISC competition.
Gates at the Oil Search National Football Stadium open at 11am.
PNG Hunters: 1. Joe Joshua, 2. Junior Rau, 3. Bland Abavu, 4. Adex Wera (c), 5. Gairo Kapana, 6. Charlie Simon, 7. William Mone, 8. Moses Meninga (vc), 9. Patrick Morea, 10. Enoch Maki, 11. McKenzie Yei, 12. Daniel Tapol, 13. Junior Rop; Reserves: 14. Nick Hasu, 15. Brendon Nima, 16. Dilbert Isaac, 17. Stanton Albert, 18. Wawa Paul.
Q-Cup Rd 2 Fixtures: Sat, March 16 – Burleigh Bears v Ipswich Jets, Redcliffe Dolphins v Sunshine Coast Falcons, Norths Devils v Easts Tigers, Mackay Cutters v Souths Logan Magpies, CQ Capras v Wynnum Manly Seagulls; Sun, March 17 – Tweed Seagulls v Townsville Blackhawks, PNG Hunters v Northern Pride.
By ISAAC LIRI