SP PNG Hunters

KAPINIAS RULED OUT FOR THE SEASON

Epel has rejoined the Hunters camp since arriving back from Brisbane on Thursday while he continues his second week of rehab process under PNG Hunters rehab trainer.

Epel is in good spirits saying the surgery went well and thanked the Dolphins club for providing all the necessary assistance to make sure his wellbeing was being taken care of. He said the focus at the moment is getting blood circulation and some mobility back to his knee with light exercises and physiotherapy.

Hunters on the right track with wins

The SP PNG Hunters make a healthy start to the year under rookie head coach Paul Aiton, in a promising sign heading into season proper.

The Hunters team comprises a mixed playing group with experienced hands in the likes of Brandon Nima and Junior Rop leading the team with some possible bolters of the season, Jordan Pat, Manasseh Kai and Weiyah Koi making the team.

They took out the win in the close finish 18-14 against Ipswich Jets in the previous weekend before backing it up with a convincing win against the Capras yesterday.

WANE PRIMED FOR 2024

Wane was ruled out of the Hostplus Cup 2022 season after picking up a foot injury against the Townsville Black Hawks. After almost 3 months of grueling preseason training the speed demon is itching to put his best foot forward and make a statement this season.

In his fourth season running, the Southern Highlander is ready to take his game to the next level given there’s a lot of competition from the new boys this year.

While focusing on his own game Wane is also going out of his way to share his experience and help mentor the young boys who have come on board this year.

Tau Loi enjoying his second season

The 26-year-old Central Province native is again pushing his luck for a spot in the final Hunters 30-man squad for the 2024 QRL season.

Thrown in at the deep end to defend against the wrecking ball Kumul and Capras enforcer, Nixon Putt in last year’s round 16 clash against the Central Queensland Capras, was the baptism of fire for young Whallen Tau Loi. He did the job on the Western Highlander on the left edge and never looked back since.

Hunters preseason program winds down

The SP PNG Hunters preseason program winds down next week with their final trial match against CQ Capras in Gladstone, Central Queensland on the 24th of February. 

Meanwhile, Hunters Coach Paul Aiton has also highlighted several teething issues relating to players injuries and visa delays that somewhat affected the team’s travel to Brisbane last week. The Hunters nonetheless went on to beat Ipswich Jets 18-4.

Hunters beat Ipswich Jets in trial match

​Despite the wet conditions, the first 20 minutes proved intriguing, with both teams displaying discipline and holding their defensive lines effectively.

However, on the 30th minute mark, the Ipswich Jets broke through with a try by Paul Iopu, taking the lead 4-0, although the conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

The PNG Hunters quickly retaliated with a try from Joshua Mire in the 34th minute. Sakias Komati’s successful conversion brought the score to 6-4 in favour of the Hunters by halftime.

Hunters trial a success

Puara Jnr’s team had the last laugh at the Santos National Football Stadium on Saturday, with Team White prevailing 22-10 at full-time.

The much anticipated Hunters inter trial was a culmination of two grueling months of pre-season training which started back in Nov-Dec 2023. 

Finley keeping fingers crossed for a call up

He puts his best foot forward, hoping for a call-up to the Hunters' final 30-man squad for the 2024 QRL Season.

Following the footsteps of big brother and former Hunter Warren Glare, Finley  has had a fairytale start to his young rugby league career, headlined by his debut for the PNG Junior Kumuls against the Australian School Boys in September, last year.

Koi draws inspiration from former players

After making a transition from rugby union to rugby league in 2020, young Koi played at the semi-professional level with Muruks and Vipers before joining up with the Gurias in the season 2023. Koi’s move to rugby league was inspired by his childhood idols, Glen Nami and Nigel Hukula from the Lahanis.

He said he used to idolize former Goroka Lahanis legends when growing up. They inspired him to take up rugby league.

Hunters selection process winds down

They currently have 36 players in camp vying for spots in the final PNG Hunters 30-man squad for the 2024 QRL Hostplus season.

Pressure is now mounting on the players to put their best foot forward to impress the coaching staff before the final squad list is announced this week.

Coach Paul Aiton and his staff have organized opposed sessions for the past two weeks to assess and recap on what the boys have learnt since block one started in terms of structure, game management and execution which is starting to come together.