No Plan B Hunters give Pride lesson

Normal, Sports

The National, Tuesday February 11th, 2014

 THE Hunters would have earned some respect from Northern Pride coach Jason Demetriou (pictured) following their 26-18 win over his team in Sunday’s trial in Cairns.

Demetriou certainly put himself offside with many PNG Hunters supporters with his  pre-match comments in the Cairns Post.

But like the rest of the PNG supporters who braved the wet conditions to the Barlow Park, they would have enjoyed the result more than Demetriou.

“I want to send a message to them (SP Hunters) that you are in the Queensland Cup now we do not mess around,” Demetriou told Cairns Post before Sunday’s Barlow Park clash.

“From a business point of view, it makes sense for both clubs to keep close links and stuff like that, but from a footy point of view we don’t care. You’re coming into our backyard now.”

Demetriou, who coached the Pride to the 2013 Intrust Super Cup minor premiership, got a sobering taste of PNG’s playing ability in an early year trial when Agmark Gurias then coached by Michael Marum upset them 29-22. 

“We underestimated them,” Demetriou recalled of the match.

“The boys didn’t expect it, but this year they are much better equipped.”

“They’ll try and intimidate us,” Demetriou said of the Hunters, now coached by Marum.

“That’s what they do because they are tough, physical blokes.”

“When they are on the front foot, they are a tough team to play against.”

“But if you put it in the corners and give it back to them, they don’t have a Plan B.”

Demetriou almost got his wish when his team led 10-8 at half-time and led 18-14 with eight minutes to go in the second half.

But Hunters captain Israel Eliab at five-eighth and fullback Adex Wera collected their doubles to take the PNG side home. 

It must have been a huge disappointment to the Pride supporters because their facebook which we were following the game on went cold after the Hunters surged home.

“72 MINS – TRY! Pride 18-14 PNG Hunters. Blake Leary goes over and we’re back in front with just 8 mins left!,” was the last post.

By our calculations the game should have ended and no results so we switched to the Hunters facebook and found out why. 

“Hunters come storming home and win 26 to 18. So very proud of the boys for their first hot out,” Tassell posted, referring to the opening hit-out. 

Yesterday Demetriou when evaluating his team’s performance gave credit where it was due.

“At 18-14 you probably think we’re going to win it, but we made a few errors,” Demetriou told yesterday’s Cairns Post.

“But credit to the Hunters guys, they are going to be a great team for this competition.”

The rivalry continues when the Hunters host Pride at the Kalabond Oval, Kokopo on March 22.