Tony Marks Hunters call-up as his dream

Playmaker Mark Tony is from Lufa, Eastern Highlands.

DIGICEL Cup premiership-winning Lae Tigers captain Mark Tony says he has not given up hope of playing for the SP Hunters or the national men’s rugby league team, the Kumuls.
The 25-year-old, from Lufa, Eastern Highlands, started playing rugby league at the age of 12 while attending Holy Rosary Primary School in Port Moresby in 2008.
The Hairo villager represented his school in the Under-12s, U14s and 16s in the then Milo Schoolboys Rugby League until 2010.
In 2012, Tony joined Dobo Warriors Under-19s in the Port Moresby Rugby Football League, helping them win the premiership that year.

Lae Tigers’ Mark Tony in action in the 2020 Digicel Cup season. – Nationalfilepics

He then went on to play in the senior division until 2017 when he was selected by Digicel Cup side Mendi Muruks.
Tony made his inter-city debut with the Muruks when Andiki Andrew was the head coach.
In 2018, he decided to join his home side Goroka Lahanis.
Under the coaching of Papua New Guinea Kumuls legend Glen Nami, the young five-eighth played a critical role in the Lahanis’ premiership-winning campaign.
Tony scored the winning try and won the man-of-the-match award when they beat Enga Mioks 10-6 to claim the title at the Oil Search National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.
He also won the Digicel five-eighth of the year in the 2018 season.
Tony then moved to the Lae Biscuit Company-sponsored Tigers at the start of 2019 and went on to play in three consecutive grand finals.
He won two more grand finals with the Tigers, making it three successful premiership-winning Digicel Cup campaigns for the Eastern Highlander.
But despite all his achievements, Tony told The National last week that his best football was still ahead of him.
“I remain positive and I will not give up as I aim to achieve all of my goals,” he said.
“Being part of Digicel Cup heavyweights like the Tigers has helped me become a better person on and off the field.

Hairo villager Mark Tony has reached the past four-straight Digicel Cup grand finals. – PNGNRLCpic

“It also gives me confidence that I can go up another level in my rugby league career.
“Discipline is key; it makes you a complete athlete.
“So I always approach rugby league and life with that principle in mind.
“I’m hoping to make the Hunters’ 2022 pre-season squad.
“But if I don’t make next year’s squad, I still have time to try harder.”