Moresby crowds return as visiting Tigers aim for minor premiership
By PARKER TAMBUA
THE visiting Lae Tigers can seal the Digicel Cup minor premiership with a win over the Port Moresby Vipers but the hosts will not be taking the reigning champions lightly on Sunday (4pm kick-off).
The return of Port Moresby crowds will also make for a thrilling round-11 showdown in the main match of Port Moresby’s triple-header at Sir John Guise Stadium.
The second-placed Rabaul Gurias, who have one point fewer than the Tigers, can snatch the minor title if they beat Waghi Tumbe (2pm) and Lae lose to the Vipers.
Vipers coach Leonard Tarum told The National yesterday that he was expecting a reaction from the ladder-leading Tigers after they suffered their first loss of the season last Sunday.
“I’m sure they’ll field their best 17 as they look to atone for the loss and make a statement heading into the finals,” he said.
“This means we should not be complacent and overconfident despite our good form.
“They (Tigers) are still the best team in the competition and we know what’s coming.
“We simply have to be at our best on Sunday.
“Our focus all year has been on defence — that is why we’ve seen a lot of success this season.
“Facing the Tigers will be no different, our focus is to muscle up in defence and compete in every play.” Tarum said he was yet to make a call on Stargroth Amean after the Vipers fullback finished round 10 with a niggling injury in their win over the Cutters in Kimbe last weekend.
For the Tigers, coach Stanley Tepend is remaining upbeat despite their 4-24 loss to the Wigmen.
“It provided us a good reality check,” the former Papua New Guinea Kumul said.
Tepend said they would reset and try to maintain focus going into their next game as they prepare for the finals.
Fixtures: Sat, Sept 19 — Mt Hagen Eagles v Central Dabaris; Sun, Sept 20 – Mendi Muruks v Kimbe Cutters, Enga Mioks v Goroka Lahanis, Hela Wigmen v Gulf Isou, Rabaul Gurias v Waghi Tumbe, Port Moresby Vipers v Lae Tigers.