The National, Friday July 27th, 2012
By KEITH PUARIA
THE painful 86-4 score inflicted on the Gulf Isapeas by the Agmark Gurias last Sunday will quietly lurk behind the minds of the Enga Mioks ahead of this Sundays Digicel Rugby League Cup match against the Crocs.It is no secret that the challenge issued by the Gurias raised a few eyebrows, and is definitely an invisible trophy that all other sides will want to topple the Gurias for, knowing the mentality of any sportsman, especially Papua New Guinean.
The Mioks attack may not possess as much venom across the park as the Gurias, but will rely heavily on the heavy pounding set to be unleashed by a fitter Kerry Tapako, David Loko, David Patrick and Pasu Awane upfront to soften the Isapeas defensive line.
This hopefully will give Roger Laka, Charlie Simon, Paul Tumbun, and Steven Talin the space they need to add to the Isapeas misery.
While it’s been a hard week for the Isapeas the return from injury of forward George Aba, Pheonix Puri and Jarrod Haoda, and the addition of last week’s non-travellers halfback Joshua Thomas, Jason Koivi and George Kose has instilled some confidence back into the side.
“We went to Kokopo without some of our best from the season so far due to injuries. The boys will definitely turn up to play on Sunday,” manager Bosco Kose said.
“Moore (Evara), Pipi (wing – Kilori) are still out, while Aaron (Mulunga) is in doubt. We will give him till the last hour to be ready.”
Mulunga has been the go-to man for the Isapeas all season, and was the standout in a losing side last week.The Kokopo disappointment is now behind the team and like their cellar-dwellar counterparts-the Lae Snax Tigers, the Isapeas are moving on ready to make their last two matches count.
They have the bye in the final round.
In Lae, reigning champions Goroka Lahanis will meet a desperate Port Moresby Vipers, minus Thompson Teteh again.
Both sides are fighting for their lives, with the Mt Hagen Eagles quietly closing in and need these two points desperately.
Mt Hagen Eagles have a tough task on Sunday against the resurgent Mendi Muruks at home, and the Lions may have to be wary in Kokopo against a Gurias side on fire.