The PNG Hunters have kicked off the 2022 Hostplus Cup season with a tough 16-10 win over the Mackay Cutters at BB Print Stadium in Mackay.
The Hunters enjoyed an excellent start, getting through their opening set before strong contact in defence forced the Cutters into an error with their first possession.
Starting props Casey Dickson and Sylvester Namo consistently bent the line with their carries to open the game and Mackay had no answer. Left-edge backrower Benji Kott came awfully close to crashing over the line after collecting a late offload before the Hunters forced yet another error in Mackay’s half. From the attacking scrum, right-centre Rodrick Tai summed things up smartly to put Solo Wane over in the corner for the opening try.
Dilbert Issac was next to score for the Hunters, crashing over under the posts courtesy of a lovely pass from Wesser Tenza at half.
MARK Tony, Roderick Tai, Wesser Tenza and Kingstimer Paraia have been named to make their Hostplus Cup debuts in the SP Hunters’ season-opener away at Mackay Cutters on Saturday (4.30pm kick-off).
Reigning Digicel Cup premiership-winning Lae Tigers playmaker Tony will partner youngster Judah Rimbu in the halves while Roderick Tai will combine with Gilmo Paul in the centre.
Mendi Muruks rake and skipper Tenza will start at dummy-half with goal-kicking talent Paraia expected to come off the bench in a one-two punch by coach Matthew Church.
Both sides have played 11 matches between them with the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored Hunters recording six wins, three loses and two draws.
The Hunters lost 30-40 in their last meeting despite leading 26-14 at halftime.
Meanwhile, Hunters co-captain Ila Alu underwent surgery last Monday on his fractured collar bone sustained during first trial match against Central Queensland Capras on March 5.
PAPUA New Guinea international and Brisbane Bronco David Mead has come out to speak up against online bullying of rugby league players in the country.
Recently, PNG Kumuls utility Edwin Ipape, who was signed by second-tier English club Leigh Centurions, fell victim to bullying because some fans were disputing his age.
Mead shared his experience when he was a victim himself in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup after the Kumuls lost 8-9 to France in their final pool match.
Fans blamed the former Gold Coast Titan and Catalans Dragon for a missing a conversion that cost PNG the game.
“When I missed that conversion that was going to win the match back in 2013, that was when I experienced online bullying at its highest,” the Tubusereia native, from Central, told The National on Sunday.
“There were terrible things said about me.
FORMER Papua New Guinea Kumul Tu’u Maori passed away yesterday at the age of 33 after a battle with motor neurone disease in Australia.
The disease is a condition that affects particular nerves known as motor nerves, or motor neurons.
Those neurons generate and die, and slowly the muscles become weaker. This eventually leads to paralysis.
Born on Nov 22, 1988, the 2015 Brisbane Rugby League premiership-winning Ipswich Jets captain was diagnosed with the disease in February, 2019.
PNG coach Michael Marum paid tribute to the Kumul No.209 soon after he received the news. He told The National yesterday that the former Cronulla Shark and Melbourne Storm junior had always donned the Kumuls jumper with pride.
DIGICEL Cup premiers Lae Tigers have contributed half of the 12 new faces in the SP Hunters train-on squad announced on Friday. Runners-up Waghi Tumbe and Rabaul Gurias have supplied two players each.
Out of the 12 Digicel Cup teams, only the Tigers, Tumbe, Gurias, Hela Wigmen and Kimbe Cutters contributed at least one player to the 2017 Queensland Intrust Super Cup champions.
“The players we chose were picked for their suitability and how we wanted to play our game.
“There is no favouritism; I’ve got no allegiance to any club.
“I chose purely on how they will suit the Hunters. The new faces are Jesse Matthew, Francis Kembis (Tumbe), Nathan Tente, Liam Joseph (Gurias), Roderick Tai, Mark Tony, Jamie Mavoko, Casey Dickson, Kitron Laka, Sherwin Tanabi (Tigers), Valentine Culligan (Wigmen), Tony Worrot (Cutters).
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