Tassell buoyant on PNG performance in trial

Normal, Sports

The National, Tuesday February 11th, 2014


THE Hunters showed great fighting spirit to score a 26-18 win in their Queensland Cup rugby league opening trial against Northern Pride in Cairns on Sunday night.

But there is room for improvement and areas they need to polish up on ahead of their Intrust Super Cup season opener against Redcliffe Dolphins in Redcliffe on March 2. 

PNG Rugby Football League CEO Brad Tassell said they were very happy with the first up effort from the SP Hunters but were not getting too excited.   

“There’s a lot of talent there and we believe we have the right mix of players. It is just a trial though and we are not getting carried away,” Tassell posted on the Hunters’ facebook.

“We will continue to work hard to improve and fix a lot of areas that need attention.”

He said coach Michael Marum and his coaching team were fully aware that it was a long season and “the players also know that one trial win does not make a season”.

But it was an excellent start to the campaign and Tassell thanked everyone in Cairns – who according to reports in the Cairns Post seemed to outnumber Pride supporters – and elsewhere for their support.

“Thank you to all of our PNG supporters. Just remember tough times will come along with the good times and we appreciate and value your 100% support.”  He also sent a similar message to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko.

Tassell in another post said: “To our supporters, we have just had a call from the Prime Minister and he is really proud of the team. He wants to personally support more of our national sports including the PNG Hunters.”

The Hunters were inundated with congratulatory notes on facebook. 

“Fantastic stuff guys . I only have one suggestion. Could we engage a specialist kicker to coach several players to master the art of goal kicking and field goals under pressure? These skills will come handy in close games. It’s better to start early,” a Charles Raka posted.

Pride supporters were also on the Hunters facebook page.

“Watched the game loved it, great support base in Cairns, (second home ground by the looks) agree lots of improving to do, but looking forward to a great season win lose or draw, any merchandise?,” a Colin Cooper said.

“I’m a Pride man at heart but happy to see the Hunters going well,” Gary Boyle said.

The Pride’s facebook was equally popular with followers of both teams.

“Thanks Pride for the live stream, you’re my second best team, after the Hunters of course! Good luck for the season,” Bruno Murau posted.