The National – Friday, June 17, 2011
By GABRIEL LAHOC
WIN number four.
This is the writing on the wall for the Snax Lae Tigers who will now go in as the underdogs against reigning premiers Bintangor Goroka Lahanis on Sunday in Goroka in round seven of the Digicel Cup competition.
The list of casualties from their third consecutive victory over the WGS Mt Hagen Eagles, have thrown a spanner in the works, but the team has a positive mindset for this match in order to score the upset of the round, after running over the Isapeas, Wigmen and Eagles in their last three games.
The Lahanis have the upper hand as the reigning premiers going into battle on their home turf, powered by a big pack and the home crowd.
Lahanis lead the competition on 10 points, and Tigers now on six points sit in fourth.
The injured Tigers are Benson Joel, Lawrence Goive, captain James Meninga and Jerry Kutz, while Russ Kaupa Jr has been given until tomorrow to prove his fitness.
Manager Justus Rapula said, despite the list of players out, they were confident of continuing their good form.
“Confidence is high in the camp after the wins, and we will test them (Lahanis) surely,” he said.
Rapula said the onus was now on the team to continue their momentum, with Joe Wemin, Wanpis James, Sydney Fred and fullback Samson Ene expected to take the lead against a merciless Lahanis.
But the Lahanis did not look too convincing against bottom-placed Gulf Isapeas last week at the National Sports Institute (NSI) and this will concern Lahanis management.
Goroka coach Peter Danga has named his strongest line-up with an experienced bench in Kumuls Nicko Ubile and Tony Dai while backline stars Adex Wera, Chris Hogi, Thompson Teteh, Spiro Makaive and Walter Hasu have been told a repeat of last week’s casual approach will not be good enough against Lae.
Complacency could cost the defending intercity premiers this weekend and the Lahanis are expected to respond in a big way come Sunday.
In Port Moresby visiting Toyota Enga Mioks coach Timothy Lepa has named a young side to play Gulf Isapeas.
Several young prospects from the Ipatas Cup will be given a chance to taste intercity football with Junior Lawrence making his debut at halfback while forwards Rodney Sawi, Danny Patrick and Young Tampus will start.