SP Hunters coach signs off after six-year tenure
MICHAEL Marum has brought down the curtain on a glittering coaching career with the SP Hunters after a six-year spell that included an Intrust Super Cup minor premiership and title.
The two-time coach of the year was instrumental in developing many Papua New Guinea Kumuls stars of the modern era, including Ase and Watson Boas, Justin Olam and Edene Gebbie.
Marum, who is helping out with competitions in Rabaul, will now take up his new role as coaching director of the Hunters and Kumuls.
During the Hunters end-of-year awards night in Port Moresby on Sept 5, an emotional Marum spoke of his experiences in arguably the world’s second toughest rugby league competition behind the NRL.
“It’s sad for me to leave the boys after six years,” the former Rabaul Gurias coach said.
“I’ll be going away, working with the game again, probably in an office somewhere but I’ve met some really good players.
“In six years, we’ve converted 83 men into Hunters players. And apart from the 83 who put on the Hunters jumper, there were also 520 players who trialed with us.
“You learn from them (players), their families, the challenges we go through.”
In their debut season in 2014, the Hunters finished sixth on the ladder and backed it up with one win shy of the minor premiership the following year.
In 2016, the Hunters finished fourth before having their most successful season the following year when they won the minor premiership and title.
Last year, the Hunters recorded a seventh-place finish and just missed out on the top-six playoffs. But this year has been their worst campaign, recording just four wins and a draw in the 23-game season.
“We’ve had some good times and some bad but I left my family behind and I wish I could stay with you guys,” Marum told the Hunters.
“From the bottom of my heart, I love you boys.”
PNG Rugby Football League chairman Sandis Tsaka also shared his earliest memories of Marum and how the former Kumul had shaped the Hunters during his tenure.
“He’s done great things for the club,” he said.
“I got to know him at the 2013 World Cup in England. PNG lost all three of their games by huge margins.
“We were dejected. We talked about what we needed to do to get the game back on track.
“And from those humble discussions, the Hunters came up and we got him to be the inaugural Hunters coach.
“People say he didn’t have the qualifications but we believed in him.
“Everything about the Hunters, the discipline and the culture is because of Michael.”