By JACK AMI
KUMUL forward Timothy Lomai has been recalled into the PNG Hunters while Melbourne Storm recruit Justin Olam will be closer to the action in the centres as coach Michael Marum named his side for their Round 17 Intrust Super Cup rugby league fixture against the Tweed Heads Seagulls on Sunday.
Lomai, who was out for four weeks with a thumb injury returns to the pack bolstering it with size and quality. The 24-year-old will start at lock for the game at Piggabeen Sports Oval, Tweed Heads, NSW.
Olam’s shift in-field from the wing was to replace captain Noel Zeming, who succumbed to a thumb injury and had surgery on Monday in Brisbane.
The goal-kicking ace is expected to be out for at least six weeks meaning he would be back for the Round 22 clash against the Burleigh Bears in Port Moresby at the earliest.
The change is somewhat fortuitous as Olam’s involvement in the game will increase and the Sinesine man’s tackle breaking ability and hard-running style should add another dimension to the Hunters attack.
Zeming, who braved playing last Sunday against Norths Devils, had been carrying the injury for over a month playing through pain and discomfort.
The Hunters have also lost Stargroth Amean for an extended period with the fullback twisting a knee at Bishop Park in Brisbane last round – he will be out for four weeks.
Winger William Aquila gets a chance to add to his three games in the Q-Cup with his last outing in Round 8 against the Burleigh Bears on the Gold Coast.
Back-rower Brandy Peter returns to the side on the bench after missing the Devils match for personal reasons. Rugby convert Butler Morris and livewire utility Gahuna Silas have been included the bench.
Marum said in Zeming’s absence Adam Korave would lead the side with five-eighth Ase Boas taking the goal-kicking duties.
“With Noel and Star out it is a major blow for us but we’ve got the players who can come in and do the job,” Marum said. “It also gives them a chance to impress us.”
In other team news, Philemon Kimisive and Nickson Borona are still recovering from knee injuries.
Borana’s run of luck with injuries has not been good with the back-rower going down minutes into his return in Round 15.
Marum stressed that the side would likely going through some changes and adjustments after medical and fitness tests today.
The team travels to Tweed Heads via Brisbane on Friday.
Hunters: 1. Bland Abavu 2. William Aquila 3. Justin Olam 4. Thompson Teteh 5. Adex Wera 6. Ase Boas 7. Watson Boas 8. Enock Maki 9. Wartovo Puara Jr 10. Esau Siune 11. Edward Goma 12. Adam Korave 13. Timothy Lomai 14. Warren Glare 15. Atte Bina Wabo 16. Brandy Peter 17. Butler Morris 18. Silas Gahuna 19. Benjamin Hetra.
By JACK AMI