Hunters Regroup Against Falcons

The SP PNG Hunters will regroup in getting their season back on track when they face Sunshine Coast Falcons in Round 13 of the Intrust Super Cup tomorrow at the Sunshine Coast Stadium.

SP PNG Hunters coach Matt Church said his players had drawn a “line in the sand” to start stage two of the Intrust Super Cup season with tomorrow’s away clash with the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

The competition will return after two weekends without football due to the mid-season bye followed by last week’s COVID-19 lockdown, which enabled players an extra week’s rest before eight consecutive weeks of matches.

Fullback Terry Wapi and winger Brendon Gutuno are certain starters at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday. However, backrower Keven Appo will be given one more week to recover from an ankle injury.

 Gutuno will return 13 weeks after fracturing his arm in Round 3 while fullback Wapi has played only one match since Round 6 because of an ankle injury. The dynamic 26-year-old Wapi has scored 12 tries in his 19 appearances since his debut in 2019.

On the injury list, Appo will return in Round 14 to take on Northern Pride while Norman Brown (knee), Edwin Ipape (shoulder) and Epel Kapinias (ankle) could all return by the following week.

The Falcons have named a team without any squad members from affiliated NRL club Melbourne Storm as they are kept in a ‘COVID bubble’ while the competition deals with lockdowns in different cities. However, the Falcons have named Kumuls hooker Kurt Baptiste, experienced halfback Todd Murphy and a host of players who have been part of winning Sunshine Coast teams.

The Falcons, who sit outside the top eight with five wins from their 11 matches and this match is the second leg of the Intrust Super Cup’s 2021 Rivalry Round match-ups. Earlier this year the Hunters walked over the Falcons 34-12 and they hope to continue that run against them this weekend.

The QRL has moved the Hunters’ clash with Mackay Cutters to Saturday 24 July on a weekend that had been set down for a bye.

Saturday’s clash between the SP PNG Hunters and Sunshine Coast Falcons will be played at Sunshine Coast Stadium tomorrow at 3pm and live on TVWAN Plus.

SP PNG Hunters team against Falcons is: 1. Terri Wapi 2. Junior Rau. 3. Brandon Nima. 4. Joe Joshua. 5. Brendon Gutuno. 6. Ase Boas 7 Charlie Simon. 8. Stanton Albert. 9. Wartovo Puara Jnr. 10. Samuel Yegip 11. Benji Kot. 12. Sylvester Namo. 13. Ila Alu (c). Interchange: 14. Judah Rimbu. 15. Dilbert Isaac. 16. Mark Piti 17. Enock Maki.

Terry Longbut