Tigers ready to perform


MINOR premiers the Snax Lae Tigers and defending champions the Agmark Gurias will face some stiff opposition in their Digicel Cup semi-finals clashes on Sunday at the Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby.
The Tigers face 2016 big improvers the Wamp Nga Hagen Eagles in the major semifinal of the double header at 2pm while the Gurias take on the Enga Mioks in the the minor semifinal fixture at 4pm.
The loser of the Gurias-Mioks clash will be eliminated from the 2016 playoffs while the loser of the Tigers-Eagles fixture gets on more bite at the cherry.
The winner of the first match earns direct passage to the grand final while the loser plays a preliminary final.
Tigers coach Stanley Tepend said his side were looking forward to their clash with the Eagles and would be out to counter the enthusiasm of the Western Highlanders.
“We’re looking forward to this match. We’ve had a good rest and the boys are ready to take that next step,” Tepend said.
“We’ll draw from our experiences over the last two seasons where we’ve finished well and despite what people might say about us being chokers, we’re happy with our achievements.”
Tepend’s Tigers are under the weight of expectation from their Morobe fans to finally come good after clinching three minor premierships in a row but have remained luckless when it comes to the major prize.
The Tigers have been the most consistent side in 2016 and will be keen to shirk off the chokers tag with a win over the impressive Eagles, who have surprised many outside of Western Highlands with performances during the home and away season.
“We’ll have to keep it simple and complete our sets and weather the early storm because the Eagles are an energetic side who start fast and they’ll have the crowd on their side so we’ll have to manage all that but I’m confident we can,” Tepend said.
Menawhile, the Gurias remain genuine contenders for a second title on the trot with Steven Nightingale’s side maintaining a standard that few in this semi-professional competition have been able to match.
Nightingale hasat his disposal a quartet of expereince and class with Hunters duo Tuvi Lepan and William Aquila as well as former Kumuls Albert Patak and Francis Paniu.
The rise of attacking dummy half Stanley Olo will complement play-maker Jason Missian and both will feed off the momentum provided by a clinical pack of forwards. The Mioks will rely on the expereince of captain Rex Yallon and Mai with their rugged style a good match for the more structured East New Britons.
Fixtures: Sun, Aug 21 – Major Semifinal: Lae Tigers v Hagen Eagles 2pm; Minor Semifinal: Mioks v Gurias 4pm at Sir John Guise Stadium.
Admission: K20 outer stands/K50 main stand.