Key Hunter out

Normal, Sports

The National, Thursday February 6th, 2014

 PNG Hunters and Kumul prop Michael Mexico will miss the first Intrust Super Cup trial rugby league match against the Northern Pride at Barlow Park, Cairns this Sunday.

Hunters coach Michael Marum yesterday confirmed the unavailability of one of his key go-forward men as they complete the final stages of their three-month pre-season build-up at Bomana Police College in Port Moresby.

Marum said his firebrand recruit is heading down to Brisbane for a minor knee clean-up operation that will see Mexico out for at least four weeks depending on the outcome.

“He will fly across to Cairns on Saturday to join the team as well,” he added.

Marum said it is unfortunate but an opportune time to get Mexico prepared for the grueling season ahead of their opening match against competition heavyweights Redcliffe Dolphins on March 2.

“Apart from that all our 22 players in camp are looking forward to their first hit-out to get that first knock out of the system,” Marum said.

Marum said he would not clarify who would be starting but only said that all players would get a run as the match will be played in quarters.

“Players will be tried out in different positions and combinations, so the onus is on them to prove they want that position or not,” he added.

He said they have three hookers in the mix with Eliab Puara Jnr, Lawrence Tu’u and Noel John, while in the halves Israel Eliab, Roger Laka and Noel Zemming are also vying for spots.

“Everyone is looking sharp at training, strength and fitness has picked up in the eight weeks, so it will be interesting how they perform,” he added.

In terms of leading the team, he said they have several players in mind but was not in a position to confirm who it was. The players had a day-off yesterday and will resume this morning with strength training in the gym at 10am and then have a field session at 4pm.

The Hunters will remain in Cairns until Wednesday when they head to Rockhampton for their second trial against Central Queensland Capras on February 15. The team flies out at 8.30am on Saturday.