The Cairns Post understands the QRL had preliminary talks over suitable alternative venues for the fledgling Hunters should work on their new home stadium be delayed.
PNG will play Intrust Super Cup matches out of Kokopo’s Kalabond Oval – their 2014 home ground – in the early rounds of next season.
Work is currently being done on two Port Moresby venues – Sir Hubert Murray Stadium and Sir John Guise Stadium – and they are expected to be available to use from June.
However, it’s understood the Hunters were eyeing all contingency plans – including the break glass option of hosting matches at Barlow Park – should there be any delays.
But Hunters CEO Brad Tassell has denied his club would be taking home games out of the country.
“It was probably something we looked at a long time ago but no, there are no plans (to take games to Barlow Park),” Tassell said.
“We probably looked at it ages ago when the club was still waiting to get the green light to come into the comp and get a licence.
“But we were happy with Kokopo last season. And if everything goes to plan we will be playing out of Port Moresby by June.
“Either way, we definitely won’t be playing any games at Barlow Park.”
The club’s round 18 game against Barlow Park occupants the Northern Pride drew a ground-record 4390 fans, underpinned by the strong PNG population in the Far North.
The possibility of switching matches to Cairns could be rich money-spinners for the Hunters given the certainty of a big local crowd to watch the ISC’s ultimate entertainers.
The modest Kalabond Oval has always been deemed a stopgap option until the club was able to shift full-time to Port Moresby.
There have previously been concerns over the availability of Kalabond Oval given the extra travel demands required to reach Kokopo.
Tassell, formerly a member of the Pride support staff, said he was hopeful of making further strides with PNG rugby league in 2015.
After starting brightly, the Hunters faded throughout a gruelling campaign to finish sixth – just a point out of the top five.
“We had a good year and we’re definitely starting to see some real benefits,” he said.
“We have got a few new local players coming into the squad next year.
“It’s a lot of work but I’m really enjoying the challenge.”
Like the Pride, it will be a new-look Hunters in 2015 following the departure of some stars, including Gary Lo and Jason Tali to UK lower league outfit Gateshead.
Winger Lo affirmed his reputation as an ISC star when he produced a four-try blitz against the Pride last season. Cairns Post