The National, Thursday 6th September, 2012
By KEITH PUARIA
ENGA Mioks captain David Loko is wary of what the ‘Billy Slater-Cameron Smith-like’ combination at the Agmark Gurias could do against the Mendi Muruks in Sunday’s Digicel Cup rugby league grand final.
“Dummy half Wartovo (Puara Junior) and fullback Patak (Albert) have the potential to keep you guessing, and they are very quick off the mark,” Loko said.
“They were the difference when we played the Gurias. Wartovo especially is the danger out of dummy half.”
Loko’s suggestion could be key information, an inside scoop from his side’s grand final qualifying loss to the Gurias in Kokopo 12 days ago, for the Muruks.
The PNG international’s observation also highlighted the much anticipated contest for the starting Kumul No.9 jersey between Muruk veteran Charlie Wabo and rising star Puara Jr.
“Muruks’ strength is in their forwards, and they do very well because of the direction of Wabo. They’re very good in the middle of the field. If you go soft or get tired in the middle, Wabo will run it around the ruck area,” Loko added.
While Puara could have easily picked up ‘Dally M Player of the Year’ in the Digicel Cup, if we had such an award in the countrys semi-professional competition, Wabos season tells more the story of the Muruk’s season struggles, and then their surge to the final.
The dummy half role is not the only contest however in Sundays Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby final.
Kumul incumbent Dion Aiye also meets 21 year-old Muruks five-eighth and gifted ball player Kewa Kili out wider.
Loko knows very well how the road to the semi-final 16-8 loss last week to the Muruks has been, against the calibre of opposition they’ve had, and has swayed more to Kokopo.
“Gurias, they are fast, they play quick but behind good structure.”