By BENJAMIN KOITAKA
THEY may be in a rut with a single win from seven games so far in the Intrust Super Cup season but today’s Kokoda Cup fixture offers the SP PNG Hunters added motivation to beat Burleigh Bears in their Anzac Day Round 8 clash at Gold Coast.
The Hunters languish in second to last spot and are coming off a disappointing 28-10 loss to Ipswich Jets at the National Football Stadium.
After logging their first win of the season over the CQ Capras in Emerald, Queensland, back in Round 6, the Hunters looked to have turned a corner until the Jets taught coach Michael Marum’s men a lesson over Easter.
Marum is not a man to be rattled by a dip in form or a slow start to the season and has followed his tried and tested methods heading into the fixture against a team captained by Kumul prop Luke Page.
While the talk in town has been about his misfiring halves and his side’s inability to play smarter football, Marum continues to tinker with his side promoting Charlie Simon, pictured, back into the starting side to partner Ase Boas in the halves while dropping club captain Adex Wera for missing a training session.
Despite the poor form and discipline issues the goal remains the same — win the Kokoda Cup.
“We’re backing our guys to get on with the job at Pizzey Park,” Marum said.
“We’ll let our actions do the talking. We’re refocusing again after the disappointment against the Jets.
“We know the Bears at home will be another tough task because they’re doing well and will want to retain the Kokoda Cup as well.”
Marum said the Bears led by Page would bring size and aggression to the forward exchanges but the Hunters were equally keen to get out onto the park and make up for their performance against the Jets.
“We have been working hard all week to get things right and hopefully we get some things to go our way this game.”
Marum said his side had been stymied by a combination of ill-discipline and being on the end of some tough calls last game but he also admitted that the side needed to limit their errors and to make the most of their opportunities.
“I’m hoping the message has gotten through and everybody is switched on and ready to play.
“Time for talk is over.”
In team news, prop Dilbert Isaac (exams) and Brendon Gotuno (graduation) were not considered for the game because of school commitments.
Back-rower Jordan Pat is set to become Hunter No.81 when he comes off the bench alongside Daniel Tapol, Patrick Morea and Joe Frank.
Hunters: 1.Joe Joshua, 2. Junior Rau, 3. Bland Abavu, 4. Brendon Nima, 5. Shane Haro, 6. Ase Boas, 7. Charlie Simon, 8. Moses Meninga (c), 9. Woods Kawage, 10. Enoch Maki, 11. McKenzie Yei, 12. Epel Kapinias, 13. Junior Rop; Reserves: 14. Patrick Morea, 15. Joe Frank, 16. Jordan Pat, 17. Daniel Tapol, 18. Butler Morris.
Fixtures: Rd 8 – Thurs, April 25: Burleigh Bears v PNG Hunters; Sat, April 27: Easts Tigers v Redcliffe Dolphins, Townsville Blackhawks v CQ Capras, Sunshine Coast Falcons v Mackay Cutters, Norths Devils v Northern Pride; Sun, April 28: Souths Logan Magpies v Wynnum Manly Seagulls , Tweed Heads Seagulls v Ipswich Jets.
By BENJAMIN KOITAKA