Zeming to lead Hunters

Normal, Sports

The National, Wednesday February 3rd, 2016


 PAPUA New Guinea Hunters leading points scorer Noel Zeming will captain Michael Marum’s side their only pre-season fixture against the Jamie Soward-led Penrith Panthers this weekend.

Marum as well as PNG Rugby Football League and Hunters chief executive officer Bob Cutmore confirmed that the 26-year-old, who has been with the Hunters programme since it started in 2014, got the job ahead of fellow Kumuls Ase Boas and Adam Korave for Saturday’s match at the National Football Stadium.

Tellingly, Zeming also accompanied Marum to last week’s multi-million kina sponsorship announcement by South Pacific Brewery of the Hunters in Port Moresby. 

“Noel will captain the side this weekend. He’s been around since day one and he’s a good talker and is respected by his teammates,” Marum, pictured, said.

Zeming along with Thompson Teteh, Esau Siune, Adex Wera, Bland Abavu, Wartovo Puara Jr, Brandy Peter and Korave are the orginal Hunters from 2014.

Apart from his rapport with the players, Zeming’s reliable goal-kicking, defence and his combination in the three-quarters with centre Teteh and winger Wera – all former Lahanis teammates – makes him the first player picked in the Hunters side.

The Goroka-raised Morobe man is used to playing in a leadership role having played in the halves for Digicel Cup franchise the Lahanis before making the Hunters.

Since being given the kicking duties mid-way through the Hunters inaugural season, Zeming has amassed 320 points with the points coming off his boot with close to an 80 per cent success rate. 

Zeming, who put a teaching career on hold to pursue football career, may not stay in the centres if he is installed as captain for the season with coach Marum hinting a move to five-eighth a possibility during the Intrust Super Cup season.

“We’ve got Ase Boas playing at six for this game with Ate Bina (Wabo) at halfback but Noel could end up at five-eighth later on in the season. We’ll see how things go,” Marum said.

“We’ve got a few outside good backs like Philemon Kimisive and Justin Olam in the squad so there is that chance that he’ll (Zeming) move closer to the action later in the season.”

Zeming played halfback in Mal Meninga’s Kumuls side in last May’s one-off test against Fiji on the Gold Coast so perhaps his final position could be in the halves given his size (177cm, 85kg) and his skill set at the top level. 

A thinking player Zeming has proven his adaptability by playing exclusively in the centres becoming Marum’s Mr Dependable on the left edge.

Meanwhile, Marum revealed his starting side with the most notable pick being newcomer Benjamin Hetra named in the backrow alongside Nickson Borana.

Marum said Hetra, who played prop for the Hela Wigmen last year, will play a tighter role and would move to the middle of the ruck during the course of the game.

Hunters: 1 Stargroth Amean, 2 Bland Abavu, 3 Noel Zeming (c), 4 Thompson Teteh, 5 Adex Wera, 6 Ase Boas, 7 Ate Bina Wabo, 8 Henry Wan, 9 Wartovo Puara Jr, 10 Esau Siune, 11 Nickson Borana, 12 Benjamin Hetra, 13 Adam Korave; Reserves: 14 Ishmael Balkawa, 15 Philemon Kimisive, 16 Justin Olam, 17 Tuvi Lepan, 18 Warren Glare, 19 Edward Goma.