Main Stories, Sports

The National, Thursday, May 5, 2011

THE SBS Mendi Muruks will not have the on-field services of inspirational captain and forward Joseph Omae when they face Lae Snax Tigers on Sunday in Lae.
This was revealed yesterday when Omae, 29, was named as assistant coach to Jack Kereme while another player from last year’s grand final fullback Roderick Puname, 24,  was listed as team manager.
Although franchise owner Tom Higgins said in a previous media report that the Muruks of 2011 would look to their young talent to forge the campaign, the omission of Omae and Puname was huge.
The talismanic Omae has been with the franchise since 2006 after leaving the Brian Bell Bulldogs and has overseen three premierships (2006-08) and is arguably the rock on which several Muruks campaigns have been built.
Despite this apparent loss, Muruks have pulled off a coup in re-signing former hooker Charlie Wabo for the season.
Wabo, who was an important cog for the Southern Highlanders during their premiership treble, will add a touch of championship class to the consistent Muruks.
Initially thought to have inked an agreement with Hela Wigmen, the Kumul rake opted to return to his old team which dominated the competition in the later part of last decade.
He joins brother Ate Bina Wabo who linked up with the Mendi franchise last year.
Other old hands for Muruks are backrower Norbert Kembo (Omae’s heir apparent), returning three-quarter Matthew Puke (previously with Gurias),  Terry Toa, Malachi Owen, Wesley Benny and Jacky Kuman.
The rest of the squad is a mixture of fresh faces and second and third season Muruks.
The Muruks: Norbert Kembo, Winbert Kembo, Charlie Wabo, AB Wabo, Travis Waninara, Puke, Wesley Benny, Malachi Owen, Roy Kela, Terry Toa, Jacky Kuman, Andrew Sam, Kewa Kili, Joshua Molsi, Wer Mark, Elizah Anton, Jackson Undi, Jerry Tapara, Gaspi Nengo, Joker Jones, Richard Rami, Joseph Lawrence, Melus Powi, Dickson Eki, Peter Andrew, Joseph Wama, Dickson John, Wesser Tenza, Kenneth Yombi, Kemi Yol and Wellington Albert.