Rop deserves second chance, says Church


COACH Matthew Church says Junior Rop deserves a second chance despite the forward being removed from the SP Hunters in the 2021 pre-season for breaching the club’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) protocols.
He said last week that the Western Highlander had been dropped from the squad twice.
But Church said the Lae Tigers forward’s first incident happened before he had taken over the role as head coach.
“Rop broke team protocols around Covid-19 that is why he missed the 2021 season with the Hunters,” he said.
“Outside of that, I understand that he was released from the team prior but that was before my time as head coach.
“Everyone deserves a second chance under my watch.”
Rop was only called into the Hunters’ train-on squad in the New Year after fellow forward Epel Kapinias’ sacking over his failure to live up to the club’s standards.
Church, however, warned Rop that he would not be given another chance if he found himself in trouble with the club again.
“Rop is quite aware of his responsibilities and what I expect of him,” he said.
“If he doesn’t want to live up to that in any way to be a Hunter then that will be the final cross.”
Church said Rop was called back into the Hunters camp because of his form in the Digicel Cup 2021 season.
Rop was instrumental in the Tigers’ 2021 campaign which saw the Lae Biscuit Company-sponsored side claim their fourth inter-city title.
“Rop had been fairly consistent in Digicel Cup and I felt that losing a fair bit of experience in Kapinias, he could fill the void in that regard.”