THE Papua New Guinea Hunters will officially launch their 2016 Intrust Super Cup campaign tomorrow at the Aviat Club in Port Moresby.
The key announcements made will be who the club’s captain will be this season as well as the addition of several new support sponsors for the South Pacific Brewery-backed club.
Coach Michael Marum confirmed yesterday he would name the captain which will be one of Noel Zeming, Adam Korave and Ase Boas.
“We’ll name our captain during the launch on Saturday. We’ll also be naming one or two additional sponsors,” Marum said.
Marum had earlier hinted at the possible use of co-captains for the club’s third season in the Queensland competition and that tack looks the more likely with Zeming, who lead the side last week against the Penrith Panthers in a pre-season fixture at the National Football Stadium, under an injury cloud.
The other significant news for the Hunters is where in Port Moresby they will be based as a club and as a home ground.
With the Q-Cup’s opening round on the weekend of March 5-6, in which the Hunters take on the Souths Logan Magpies in an away match, the club has a little over a month to secure a venue as the first home game is in Round 3 (March 19-20) against the Tweed Heads Seagulls.
“We’re still in negotiations for a home ground this year but we’re also going to be moving out of the IPA and to another accommodation next week,” the 42-year-old said.
“We can’t confirm where our new home ground will be because those talks are still ongoing but the NFS is probably what we prefer because it is a proper rugby league stadium.”
Marum said talks with the owners and managers of the NFS as well as the other major venue in the city – were currently ongoing and would not confirm any venue.
He did say that the NFS was his preferred venue as it was a proper league facility.
PNG Rugby Football League chief executive officer Bob Cutmore, who is in Sydney attending a Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) meeting, is believed to be finalising an agreement with NFS manager Leon Buskens on the Oil Search-funded stadium to be the side’s base for this year.
Cutmore is expected back in Port Moresby for the Hunters’ season launch.
Marum added the Hunters would be moving this month from their accommodation at the Institute of Public Administration to a new location in the National Capital District but did not disclose where it would be.
This information is expected to be released tomorrow at the launch in Konedobu.
The new season will see the Hunters play 11 home games, one less than last season, with all Saturday home fixtures to be played under lights (6.30pm) while Sunday home fixtures will be in the afternoon (2.30pm).
In terms of the Hunters squad, Marum said he would have to trim the numbers down further to a set 25 for the season, which means he will be sending three players back to the Digicel Cup.
“We’ll have to cut down the squad back to 25 for the start of the season,” Marum confirmed.
“We’ll be sending some guys back to the Digicel Cup where they will continue their training and development and wait until we need them again.”
Marum said injured Anderson Benford would return to the Lae Tigers to recover fully but would be considered later on in the season.
SP Brewery representatives as well as those of new sponsors will attend the launch while Cutmore, PNGRFL chairman Sandis Tsaka and Hunters board chairman Graham Osborne will be present.
Hunters squad: Stargroth Amean, Bland Abavu, Noel Zeming, Thompson Teteh, Adex Wera, Ase Boas, Ate Bina, Henry Wan, Wartovo Puara Jr, Esau Siune, Nickson Borana, Benjamin Hetra, Adam Korave, Justin Olam, Philemon Kimisive, John Ragi Jr, Ishamel Balkawa, Tuvi Lepan, Watson Boas, Warren Glare, William Aquila, Edward Goma, Gahuna Sailas, Simon Peter , Enoch, Timothy Lomai (suspended), Brandy Peter, Anderson Benford.
The Naitonal/ ONE PNG