No.6 Yoka praised for top debut


Former schoolboys rugby league captain and Junior Kumuls player Simon Wiru has praised SP PNG Hunters five-eighth Justin Yoka for making an impressive debut.
Wiru, who captained the PNG schoolboys rugby league team who defeated Queensland and New South Wales in 1988, represented the Junior Kumuls in 1991, said Yoka needed more game time and mental toughness to excel in the role consistently.
“His first hit-out was impressive and surely combinations will work for our Hunters,” Wiru said.
“He came straight from Pangia to play at this level and did well in his first match.
“He just needs mental toughness and experience.”
Yoka, 20, from Yungili village in Ialibu-Pangia, played for the Highlands Confederation last year at the national championships before being called up by Hunters coach Michael Marum.
Yoka, who weighs 84kg and stands at 174cm, made his debut against the Sunshine Coast Falcon in round three of the Queensland Intrust Super Cup at the National Football Stadium on Sunday. The Hunters lost 28–26.
Yoka scored his first try in the 23rd minute off an off-load from vice-captain Moses Meninga.
Wiru said Pangia did not have proper fields but was capable of producing talented rugby league players.
He said former Kumuls Timothy Lomai, Raymond Karl, Brandy Peter and several other players came through the Pangia league, with Yoka the most recent product.
He thanked the Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League and Marum for having the confidence in Yoka.