Hunters wary of Cutters


PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum says his side are not underestimating Sunday’s round 14 Q-Cup opponents, the last-placed Mackay Cutters, and are expecting a tough clash at the National Football Stadium.
Marum, whose side suffered a setback last round with a 30-12 loss to the Easts Tigers, said they were not expecting any favours from the cellar–dwellers even though both sides were coming off losses, with the defending champions in 11th place and desperate not to lose sight of the top four with half the regular season gone.
“They’ll be tough for sure. They lost last week on their home ground and they’ll want to make up for that,” Marum said.
“They may be last but they’ll be dangerous because they have nothing to lose and they also have some decent players.”
The Cutters have yet to beat the Hunters in PNG and their last win over the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored side was at Mackay Stadium in 2014 where they beat them 20-4.
Of the seven games played between the sides, the Hunters have won four games, lost won and drawn two.
The last time the sides met was in round 20 at the NFS last year where they fought out a 22-22 draw proving that the Cutters will certainly not be intimidated by the crowd or conditions in Port Moresby.
Marum said his side would need to be better defensively, especially on the edges, where the Tigers exposed his side’s poor decision making and reaction time with Brodie Croft and Billy Walters able to shift the ball to their outside men with ease and resulting in four of their six tries to the wingers.
“We let in a few tries on both our edges against the Tigers and were poor defensively so we have to be better on Sunday.
“We didn’t put enough pressure on their playmakers like Brodie and Billy and they were able to open up our defence because they had so much time with the football, so we’ve trained this week as we do every week to make better decisions on defence and apply pressure.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether we’re playing the top team or the bottom team we have to do our jobs.”
Marum said there was a possibility for changes to the line-up named during the week with halfback Watson Boas and centres Willie Minoga and Thompson Teteh still carrying niggles.
The Cutters have former Manly Sea Eagles hooker Jayden Hodges wearing their No.9 jersey and he will be aided by halfback Cooper Bambling while the hard-runningJohnny Faletagoai will add impact off the bench for the visitors. Hunters: 1. Adex Wera 2. Junior Rau 3. Thompson Teteh 4. Willie Minoga 5. Brendon Gotuno 6. Charlie Simon 7. Watson Boas 8. Enoch Maki 9. Wartovo Puara Jr 10. Stanton Albert 11. Nixon Put 12. McKenzie Yei 13. Rhadley Brawa; Reserves: 14 Patrick Morea 15. Ila Alu 16. Dilbert Isaac 17 Edene Gabbie 18. Moses Meninga 19.William Mone (two to be ommitted).
Round 14 Fixtures: Sat, June 10 – Burleigh Bears v Northern Pride, Sunshine Coast Falcons v Souths Logan Magpies, Townsville Blackhawks v Easts Tigers, Tweed Heads Seagulls v Central Queensland Capras; Sun, June 11 – Norths Devils v Redcliffe Dolphins, Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Ipswich Jets, PNG Hunters v Mackay Cutters.

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