The other surprise move by coach Michael Marum has been the shifting of captain Israel Eliab to the centres pushing Thompson Teteh to the extended bench. Aiye, who only came into the squad,last week impressed Marum enough to earn a call up to the starting side for the game in Rockhampton on Sunday.
The 25-year-old played under Marum at the Agmark Gurias over the past four seasons and knows his mentor’s style.
Aiye will partner Roger Laka in the halves and rugged prop Esau Siune earned a starting spot alongside Mark Mexico.
Eliab, played centre during the Rugby League World Cup last year but was not effective in that position however with fullback Adex Wera in strong form the skipper has been pushed out to the three-quarters.
The casualty in all this is Teteh who moves to the bench but it is unclear what kind of role the Eastern Highlander will play if named.
Centre-cum-forward Willie Minoga fills the role of mobile bench forward and goal kicking specialist Noel Zemming would have to be locks for two of the four bench spots while the fact that Marum has continued with the same pack that he used against the Easts Tigers last week ensures that he will go for a three-one split. Forwards Joe Bruno and Adam Korave are strong chances to complete the bench.
The Hunters are fourth on the ladder with seven points and the Jets are in sixth spot with six points.
Ipswich thrashed the lowly Falcons 38-16 last round while the Hunters managed a 20-20 draw against tougher opposition in the Tigers. The Hunters: Adex Wera, Garry Lo, Israel Eliab, Albert Patak, George Benson, Dion Aiye, Roger Laka, Mark Mexico, Wartovo Puara , Essau Siune, David Loko, Timothy Lomai, Sebastian Pandia, Noel Zemming, Willie Minoga, Lawrence Tu’u, Adam Korave, Joe Bruno, Edward Goma, Thompson Teteh (two to be omitted). The National