Kumuls duo off to UK


FORMER Kumuls and SP PNG Hunters fullback Stargroth Amean and hooker Wartovo Puara Jr have signed on with English club Barrow Raiders for next season.
Raiders director of rugby league Andy Gaffney said he could not wait to see Amean and Puara Jr in action for the English second division club after the pair agreed to join the club for the 2019 Betfred Championship season.
The pair move to Craven Park with plenty of experience of playing in Australia’s Queensland Cup – one level below the NRL – for the Hunters, along with representing their country at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Amean scored 36 tries in 64 appearances for the Hunters, and adds to a backline at Barrow which has already been boosted by the signings of Tee Ritson, Deon Cross and Jake Spedding.
Amean is returning to the sport after nearly a year out studying science foundation at the University of Papua New Guinea and Gaffney was in no doubt about the value the 27-year-old would bring.
“Stargroth can play wing, centre or fullback and he’s an absolute try machine, and it’s great to have him at Barrow,” Gaffney said.
“He took time out the game this year to study at university and he wants to get back into the game.
“He’s a top-drawer player and it’s great to get him at Barrow. I think we can all expect entertainment to go up a notch or two when he is on the field.
“Our backline is now looking really, really exciting to watch.
“I think there will be a few eyebrows raised when people see he’s come to Barrow.”
Puara Jr, meanwhile, will be combining with Barrow vice-captain Nathan Mossop at hooker, taking over the position which was filled by Dean Parata this season.
The 28-year-old has been with the Hunters since their inaugural season in 2014, making 108 appearances and scoring 25 tries.
He spent six weeks on trial with NRL outfit South Sydney Rabbitohs during pre-season in 2015 too and has plenty of attributes which Raiders head coach Paul Crarey —himself a hooker of some renown during his playing days — was particularly eager to harness.
“Wartovo, as a hooker, is very explosive,” Gaffney said.
“He’s really solid in defence, which we liked, and he’s very smart around the ruck, which is the sort of hooker Cresta likes.
“He’s played 100 plus games for the Hunters and we needed a hooker alongside Mossy, and he will definitely be a star in the Championship without a doubt.”
Gaffney added: “They are two great players and I can’t wait to see them start.
“It’s been to-ing and fro-ing over the last few weeks with them, and to get them signed up is great for the club.”
The PNGRFL have yet to make a statement on the signing however this brings the number of Hunters signed by English clubs this year to four with the Boas brothers Ase and Watson inking a deal with the Featherstone Rovers (Betfred Championship) in August.

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