By BENJAMIN KOITAKA
UTILITY forward Patrick Morea has been given a chance to impress in the SP PNG Hunters No.9 jersey on Sunday and the 26-year-old is keen to make the most of the opportunity.
“Last year I was just a reserve sitting on the bench for eight games,” Morea, who was slotted into the hooking role after Woods Kawage, pictured, was ruled out with a knee injury, said.
“Playing hooker is challenging but our coach has faith in me and I’m excited about playing on Sunday,” the Central man said.
Morea is set to pick up where former Hunters star Wartovo Puara Jr left off and appreciated the responsibility of role.
“This will be my first game at hooker and I just want to go out there and do my job well.
“I’ll do my best to work with the halves and forwards. I’m just grateful to be here and like any other team member I’ll take this chance try to make sure I play well to get picked again.”
The former Port Moresby Vipers lock said he learned to stay motivated and patient in his time with the Hunters and was looking forward to their Round 1 match against Tweed Heads on Sunday.
Five players — Gairo Kapana, Brandon Nima, Daniel Tapol, Junior Rop and Nick Hasu — will make their Hunters debuts at Piggabeen Stadium with the team to be lead by captain by Adex Wera and vice-captain Moses Meninga.
Morea is one of the best defenders in the Hunters squad with the 85kg forward able to execute textbook tackles shoring up the defence around the ruck.
The Hanuabada man focused on rugby league after the eighth grade at the Hagara Primary School and quickly jumped from playing Under-16 schoolboys rugby league at 15 to playing club football for the Hanuabada Hawks.
He then joined Konedobu-based club the Kone Storm in 2014 and played first grade before being picked by the NCDC Port Moresby Vipers in 2017.
“I really got involved in rugby league when I started playing in the schoolboys competition when I was in primary school and I just kept playing and played for the Hawks and then the Storm which are close to me,” Morea said.
“I made the Vipers in 2017 and then the Hunters got me last year so I have been very thankful for my opportunities.”
Morea said he had played lock and centre for the Vipers last year but said he would enjoy his new role for the Hunters and contribute to making them a competitive team this year.
“I just have to be determined and keep working hard on my game and I knew that eventually I would get a chance and when that happened I won’t let anyone down.”
By BENJAMIN KOITAKA