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SP PNG Hunters have announced the appointment of Digicel Cup premiership winning coach Stanley Tepend as assistant coach for the 2022 Intrust Super Cup season.

Tepend will be an assistant to Hunters coach Matt Church, bringing his experience from nine seasons in charge of the Lae Snax Tigers including four premierships and six minor premierships.

SP PNG Hunters chairman Mr Stan Joyce CSM said he was delighted that Tepend would join the Hunters.

“This is a very pleasing appointment because it adds even more experience and insights to the Hunters coaching staff,” Mr Joyce said.

“This is a significant announcement because we are as committed to developing our coaching talent as we are committed to developing our on-field talent. Stanley Tepend will help us in those goals.”

In September, Tepend guided the Tigers to a 16-10 win over Waghi Tumbe in the Digicel Cup grand final played in front of a capacity crowd at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

That capped a stellar period for Tepend as coach of the Tigers, stretching from his inaugural season in 2013 through to premierships in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021.

During that time Tepend was also an assistant coach of the PNG Kumuls and coached a Prime Minister’s XIII team against Australia.

Tepend will join Church and Paul Aiton on the Hunters coaching staff.

“I am thankful for the opportunity given to me to come in as an assistant for coach Matt Church and rest of the coaching staff,” Tepend said.

“I know the Intrust Cup is much higher level with a lot of teams having NRL experience and to be given this opportunity is enormous for me to be a part of the Hunters system.

“I am looking forward to learning off Matt and his support staff. I know they handled season 2021 the best they could, under extremely challenging circumstances, and I know the second year in Australia will be better for players and staff as they will know what to expect.

“Thank you to Stan Joyce and the Board of the SP Hunters, to CEO Scott Barker, coach Matt Church and coaching staff, CEO PNGRFL Stanley Hondina and Chairman PNGRFL Sandis Tsaka.”

Church says he is looking forward to linking with Tepend when the Hunters pre-season begins later this month in PNG. Early next year, the Hunters will again relocate to Queensland for the season because of Covid travel restrictions.

“Stan Tepend’s coaching record is unmatched in PNG. He brings a wealth of knowledge and this is an excellent opportunity for him to gain valuable experience at Intrust Super Cup level,” Church said.

“The Hunters want to attract the best in PNG – the best players and the best coaches. Stan certainly fits into that description. We are excited he will join us and look forward to developing Stan’s coaching career as he helps develop the Hunters.”

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