PNG Hunters to face Brisbane Broncos in preseason trial match
It will be the Hunters’ second game against the National Rugby League club in as many years — coach Michael Marum’s side lost the match 26-12 in the previous game last year.
With the Hunters releasing a further 10 players last Friday and resuming their pre-season training today, the squad which now numbers 32 from an initial 60 in November, will be reduced to a final 25 before the Broncos game.
The Q-Cup season kicks off on the weekend of March 9-10 with the Hunters away to the Tweed Heads Seagulls while the Broncos will open the NRL season the following week with a Round 1 clash against the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on Thursday March 14.
The Broncos with a new coach in Anthony Seibold, who replaced Wayne Bennett during the offseason, will have their second trial match on March 2 trial against the Gold Coast Titans.
The Broncos are expected to field a strong side as they did last year when players of the caliber of Anthony Milford, Corey Oates, Alex Glenn, Jordan Kahu and Kodi Nikorima.
Queensland great Sam Thaiday, who retired at the end of last season, also featured for the Broncos thrilling fans at the Oil Search NFS.
The Broncos have players whom the Hunters are familiar with having played against them in the Q-Cup with names like Jamayne Isaako (Souths Logan), Jaydn Su’A (Wynnum), Gehamat Shibasaki (Norths Devils) and Kotoni Staggs (Redcliffe) likely to be included in coach Seibold’s trial squad.
The Hunters, who won the title in 2017, four years after debuting in the competition, come into their sixth season with a team that hardly resembles their championship-winning side from two years ago and Sat, March 23 will essentially be their first game as a team.
Premiership winners Adex Wera, Bland Abavu, Enoch Maki, Moses Meninga, Stanton Albert, Butler Morris and Wawa Paul are expected to lead some exciting talent in newcomers Gairo Kapana, a former sevens representative and PNG Resident U23s and Kumuls, centre Brendan Nima and hooker Woods Kawage.
Players who debuted last season in Charlie Simon, McKenzie Yei, Dilbert Isaac, Junior Rau and Ila Alu are the also expected feature in match against the Broncos.