By ISAAC LIRI
SP PNG Hunters fullback Edene Gabbie has been cleared to play in Sunday’s round 23 Q-Cup clash against Wynnum Manly.
The 23-year old was in doubt earlier this week after he pulled out of training due to a right ankle injury.
Gabbie, was also dealing with a family bereavement after his elder brother passed away.
The Koiari man was given the green light by the club’s medical team and will wear the No.1 jersey in the penultimate match of the regular season.
The fixture is also the last home game for the Hunters and a close to capacity crowd is expected at the Oil Search National Football Stadium.
With Gabbie available, coach Michael Marum retained last week’s winning side.
“I’m fine. I’m ready to play this weekend, I pulled out from training this week but after some treatment I’m good to play,” Gabbie said
“As the fullback, I have to do a lot of talking out there with the boys because I’m the last line of defence,” Gabbie said of his developing custodial role.
“It won’t be an easy task at fullback and I’ll need to do a lot of talking from the back to help our defence line against Wynnum.”
Playing a total of 14 games and scoring eight tries in his debut season, Gabbie is a crucial member of the Hunters and is confident of helping his side make the finals.
“We’ve won our last five games because we have been training hard, for myself I’ve done a lot of fitness training.
“I know there’s only two games remaining and I know that there will be a lot of fans and family that will be coming to watch us on Sunday.
“I am confident that we can make the finals and we’ll need all the support we can get on Sunday,” he added.
The Hunters were hosted by major sponsors SP Brewery yesterday where managing director Stan Joyce announced the final 18-man team for Sunday.
Joyce urged the Hunters to do their best in their last two games of the regular season to earn a spot in the finals.
“I believe that the Hunters can make the finals and go on to defend the title in the grand final because they are the pride of the country,” Joyce said.
Hunters captain Ase Boas echoed Joyce’s sentiments adding that recalling last year’s memories of winning the grand final and the effect it had on uniting the country was a powerful motivation for the club to go back to back.
“I watched the movie titled Invictus where Nelson Mandela used sports to unite a country,” Boas said.
“Last year, when we won the cup, we saw the power of sport and how it could unite a country putting all differences aside.
“Now with only two games remaining we can use last year’s memories to motivate us to go on and defend the title and unite the country again,” Boas added.
Hunters: 1. Edene Gabbie 2. Junior Rau 3. Thompson Teteh 4. Adex Wera 5. Brendan Gotuno 6. Ase Boas (c) 7. Watson Boas 8. Enoch Maki 9. Wartovo Puara Jr 10. Moses Meninga 11. Nixon Put 12. Willie Minoga 13. Stanton Albert; Reserves: 14. Charlie Simon 15. Ila Alu 16. Rhadley Brawa 17. Dilbert Isaac 18. Mckenzie Yei.
Rd 23 Fixtures: Sat, Aug 18 – Tigers v Magpies, Jets v TH Seagulls, Bears v Blackhawks, Cutters v Devils, Capras v Falcons, Pride v Dolphins; Sun, Aug 19 – Hunters v WM Seagulls.
By ISAAC LIRI