By JACK AMI
WILLIAM Mone has waited two seasons to make his first run-on appearance for the SP PNG Hunters with the 22-year-old set to partner Charlie Simon in the halves this weekend.
Coach Michael Marum’s men open their 2019 Intrust Super Cup campaign on Sunday away against the Tweed Heads Seagulls.
While Mone is not a debutant having come off the bench for the shortest of cameos against the CQ Capras in round 11 at the National Football Stadium last year, Marum has named five players to make their debuts at Piggabeen Sports Complex, Tweed Heads.
Joe Joshua, pictured, becomes Hunter No. 67, Brendon Nima (68), Gairo Kapana (69), Daniel Tapol (70) and Junior Rop (71) have been named in the starting line-up while on the extended bench are Nick Hasu and Joe Frank who become Hunters 72 and 73 respectively if named in the final 18 man travelling team.
Mone bid his time patiently playing in the Digicel Cup for the Hela Wigmen and Agmark Gurias and being involved in Hunters off-season and pre-season camps and was finally given the nod ahead of the other halves in the squad in rookies Jerry Teme, Nick Hasu and Justin Yoka.
Mone and Simon form the club’s first choices halves pairing following the departure of Ase and Watson Boas and will most likely be the play-makers Marum relies on for the season.
Utility forward Patrick Morea has been named hooker for the round one clash and his combination with Mone-Simon will dictate how the side fare. Hunters assistant coach Nigel Hukula said the club was confident the halves pairing would find their feet quickly and provide the leadership and direction needed for the Tweed assignment.
Mone said he was unfazed by the responsibility resting on his shoulders.
“I will give my best in our first game,” Mone said.
“The coach has confidence in me and Charlie so we’ll do everything we can to win.”
Simon and Mone played as a halves pairing for the PNG Prime Ministers 13 in 2017.
Simon said he had developed a good combination with Mone at training and during trials and the pair had a good understanding.
“We’ve played together before so we have that understanding and we have also been training for the last two months and played some in-house trials so I think we’re ready to show what we can do,” Simon said.
Adex Wera will lead the side for the first time and will be playing his 101st ISC game for the Hunters.
Junior Rau will sit out this game after the QRL Judiciary handed out a one match suspension for a dangerous throw in the final Round 24 game against CQ Capras last season.
Woods Kawage and Shane Haro were unfortunate to miss out due to injuries sustained in the tri-opposed sessions against the Central Dabaris and Gulf Isou two weeks ago. Coach Marum will finalise the 18-man team tomorrow.
They travel to Brisbane on Friday March 8.
The captain’s run is on Saturday and the game against Tweed Heads kicks off at 2.05pm on Sunday at Piggabeen Sports Complex.
The game will be televised live on TV Wan Plus.
Hunters: 1. Joe Joshua, 2. Brendon Nima, 3. Bland Abavu, 4. Adex Wera (C), 5. Gairo Kapana, 6. Charlie Simon, 7. William Mone, 8. Moses Meninga, 9. Patrick Morea, 10. Enoch Maki, 11. Ila Alu, 12. Daniel Tapol, 13. Junior Rop; Interchange: 14. Nick Hasu, 15. Butler Morris, 16. Dilbert Isaac, 17. McKenzie Yei, 18. Wawa Paul, 19. Stanton Albert, 20. Joe Frank.
By JACK AMI