No home nest for Eagles

Main Stories, Sports
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The National, Friday, May 20, 2011

By PHILIP ORE’E
WANTOK‚ÄąGaming System Mt Hagen Eagles will be deprived of home turf advantage on Sunday following a decision by Digicel Cup board that Rebiamul field is deemed unfit to host the intercity round three fixture against Bintangor Goroka Lahanis.
The game will now be played at the National Sports Institute (NSI) in Goroka.
It also means that Lahanis now play their third successive home match and have had a 2-0 record at NSI this season.
Lahanis outclassed Agmark Gurias 22-6 in round one and belted SBS Muruks 38-20 in round two.
With the scales tipping to Lahanis coach Peter Danga will expect another commanding performance from his team after dominating Muruks last week.
Eagles, despite being denied home court advantage, are expected be fired up for a big game after being embarrassed by the Hela Wigmen in Port Moresby last week.
Coach Billy Noi Jr will rely heavily on marquee players in Dion Aiye and Francis Ray to set the tone for the Western Highlanders.
Kumul and Lahanis captain Glen Nami, who can shift from backrow to  five-eighth, has hardened veterans Tony Dai and Nicko Ubile to assist him marshall the troops.
Nami be up against Four Nations halves parnter Aiye which is expected to be a highlight.
The underrated Lahanis backline will be led by last week’s three-try hero Thompson Tete and supported by centre parner Chris Hogi and wingers Minaho Goso and Spiro Mikaive.
The experienced halves pairing of Casey Frank and Walter Hasu have found their groove early in the season and will be asking questions of the Eagles’ defence which looked suspect in their last match.
A bumper crowd, wearing the home franchise’s red and white is expected at NSI on Sunday for a possible barnburner.