The National, Friday, June 10th 2011
By KEVIN TEME
MENDI Muruks are in for another testing encounter when they take on the Enga Mioks in Wabag on Sunday in the Digicel Cup’s sixth round.
The Muruks will also have to contend with two of their former players in Stephen Kua and Sova Milfred who have settled into half and five-eighth roles for the Enga franchise this season.
The pair were not needed by the Muruks this year and will relish the chance to get one back over Tom Higgins’ men.
Muruks went down 16-10 to Rabaul Gurias in Kokopo last round but if they thought Kokopo was a hard place to win at then Wabag makes Kalabond Oval look like Tente on a Sunday afternoon.
The Mioks have built a fearsome reputation at Johnson Siki Oval over the years but surprisingly the Muruks are one team who find the challenge of playing there less daunting than other sides.
Mioks coach Timothy Lepa was pleased with the consecutive wins his side has strung together saying it was a huge endorsement of the Ipatas Cup which unearthed most of his current team.
They will want to play well especially with a meeting of the Ipatas Cup board and competition organisers as well as sponsors in Wabag this weekend.
In Port Moresby, it will be a local derby of sorts when Hela Wigmen try to halt a run of defeats with a win when they meet Port Moresby Vipers at Lloyd Robson Oval.
The Vipers have improved dramatically under the guidance of coach Shane Morris.
Vipers game against the Warriors last Sunday saw them outclass the Chimbu franchise in the first half – despite a spirited fightback from Warriors late in the second 40.
For the Wigmen, the honeymoon is over, and they will need to show fans and sponsors that they are the real deal in their debut season simply because of the talent in their playing and coaching ranks.
A win over the in-form Vipers on Sunday should put a smile on coach Luke Goodwin’s face after some indifferent form of late.