Tigers centre hopeful for a spot in final squad

Rising Lae Tigers rookie centre and PNG Hunters prospect Robert Mathias remains hopeful after making an impression in block one of the preseason training program.

The Western Highlander has again defied all odds to make it back into camp for block two of the reduced Hunters' likely squad for the 2024 QRL Hostplus cup season.

Born into a Seventh-Day Adventist family, Robert’s early upbringing was mostly focused on religious activities and education. He only played rugby during the Christmas holidays but never took it seriously.

After completing his secondary education, Robert transitioned to the Lae University of Technology to do accounting. His involvement in the University Chancellors Cup rugby league competition and the Ipatas Cup was able to rekindle Robert’s love for the game. His talent caught the eyes of the Mioks scouts who then slated him into their 2020 preseason squad but withdrew after the team relocated back to Wabag before he got a call-up to the Tigers in 2021.

Robert modestly attributed his early rugby league influences to his seniors and predecessors  Roderick Tai and Jacodi Bire for setting the platform and pathway for him and other upcoming talents to follow.

While training has been hard and intense, the battle for positions in the team continues this week leading up to the Hunters' final trial on Saturday, February 3,before a final squad of 30 will be announced. With the centre position still up for grabs, Robert is ready for the stiff challenge as he’s up against other quality candidates in Junior Igila, Clent Lama and the like.

After this weekend’s trial, the PNG Hunters will shift their focus to next week’s preseason away trial match against Capras in Rockhampton, Queensland.

Loop Sports