Hunters host pride in return match

The SP PNG Hunters will kick off their four consecutive home games this weekend against Northern Pride in round 11 of the QRL Hostplus Cup at the Santos National Football stadium.

When they met in Round 5, Northern Pride proved too strong for Hunters 34-14 at Barlow Park, Cairns.

Coming off their second half comeback loss to Wynnum Manly Seagulls last week, PNG Hunters would be looking for a strong start against Pride tomorrow to avenge their loss in Cairns.

Hunters have a tendency of allowing opposition teams to hit their strap in the first half before launching a comeback, which has backfired on them especially playing away games. This was evident against Wynnum last week.

With the luxury of having four consecutive home games, the Hunters cannot afford to rest on their laurels, as visiting teams will not be easy beats.

Hunters coach Stanley Tepend will not be expecting anything less than a strong start against Northern Pride, who are coming off a loss to South Logan Magpies 28-12 last week.

Tepend said though training has been normal this week, the boys are ready to back themselves up a more committed performance against Pride tomorrow.

The team remains unchanged with Jamie Mavoko and Sakias Komati starting at halves while at dummy half, and Wessa Tenza with Judah Rimbu on rotation from the bench. New front row partnership between Junior Rop and Tommy Moide remains while Epel Kapinias and Julius Yakopa will pack in from the back with Captain Ila Alu locks in the scrum.

From the bench, Sanny Wabo, who scored a double coming off the bench last week against Wynnum will be the Hunters x-factor tomorrow alongside young prop Koso Bandi.

If the Hunters can play with a bit more intent and passion and remain resilient in their set plays and defense for the entire contest, they can reverse the curse on Northern Pride, which would be good for their confidence moving into their game against Tweed Heads Seagulls next week.