Halfback Boas makes his first appearance in the No.7 jersey for the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored side, after moonlighting in the centres as well as fullback in 2015.
“It’s their (Boas and Eliab) first time to play in the halves for the Hunters but they’ve trained in those positions throughout the season so I’m confident they will handle the responsibility well,” Marum said. The 26-year-old is more accustomed to the playmaking role having made the position his own at the Agmark Gurias between 2011 and 2014 but he has been used as a utility by Marum since joining the squad in the offseason.
The 2013 Kumul World Cup squad member will be keen to strike up a partnership with captain Eliab and shore up the team’s on-field leadership and direction as the 7th placed Hunters look to work their way up the ladder into playoff contention.
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Boas’ kicking game will come under scrutiny with previous half-backs Atte Bina Wabo and Roger Laka unable to consistently find territory as well as put the opposition under pressure.
“Ase and Israel have played together before with the Gurias and they know each other’s game so we’re hoping they can take that into the match and give us some direction and get the kicking game going.
“Finding territory and getting deep into the opposition half has been a problem for us.”
Eliab, whose strength is his running game, cannot afford to defer to his new halves partner all the responsibility and will need to do some of the playmaking as well as be a second kicker in general play.
Fullback Stargroth Amean’s form is on an upward trajectory ever since being given No.1 jumper in the Engan was the hero in the Hunters come-from-behind 38-32 win over the Burleigh Bears last round.
Amean, along with hooker Wartovo Puara Jr, form a solid 1-6-7-9 spine for Marum as he looks for his best combination in 2015.
“Stargroth has been outstanding in the eight games he’s played so far and he’s really picked up his performance over the last two or three matches and he was great in that game against Burleigh last round,” Marum said.
On the opposition, despite having a shaky start to the season Marum said the Pride were the Q-Cup’s defending champions and needed to be respected.
“They had a slow start to the season with a few losses but they’ve won their last four matches and we cannot take them lightly. It’s a must-win game for us because of our position on the ladder and because we haven’t beaten them yet.”
The Pride beat the Hunters twice last year, a 34-18 away win in Round 4 followed up by a 36-18 victory in Cairns in Round 18.
PNG Hunters: 1. Stargroth Amean 2. Bland Abavu 3. Noel Zeming 4. Thompson Teteh 5. Adex Wera 6. Israel Eliab (c) 7. Ase Boas 8. Henry Wan 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Esau Siune 11. Kato Ottio 12. Brandy Peter 13. Adam Korave 14. Roger Laka 15. Lawrence Tu’u 16. Willie Minoga 17. Timothy Lomai 18. Atte Bina 19. Edward Goma 20. David Lapua (three to be omitted). The National