The SP PNG Hunters will complete a run of four-straight home games at the Santos National Football Stadium this Saturday, 17th June when they host the Souths Logan Magpies in Round 14 of the QRL Hostplus Cup. Kickoff is at 3pm.
It’s been a promising block of games for the proud PNG-based club, having fallen agonisingly short to the improving Northern Pride in Round 11 before making light work of the Tweed Seagulls and Western Clydesdales in the last fortnight.
The Hunters performances in those three games have been pleasing as they look to make a fortress out of the Santos NFS. The advantage of a growing home crowd has not been lost on the club, and they will be hoping for another packed house this Saturday against the Magpies.
To have played so well in the last three games without a host of key players is a credit to the Hunters coaching staff and playing group.
Senior players like Ila Alu, Sherwin Tanabi, Wesser Tenza and Jamie Mavoko have all been unavailable at times due to injury and suspension, while Sakias Komati, Junior Igila and Julius Yakopa have also missed games.
In their absence, the Hunters next-gen stars have stepped up to announce themselves in the QRL competition.
Tommy Moide, Joshua Mire, Sanny Wabo, Joshua Lau and Judah Rimbu have all performed beyond their years to help the Hunters climb to 10th position on the Hostplus Cup ladder heading into Round 14.
They face their biggest test yet against the competition-leading Magpies this weekend, but if they play to their potential the Hunters could inch closer to a Top Eight berth with nine rounds remaining.
The Souths Logan Magpies sit atop the QRL Hostplus Cup ladder with a 9-1-2 record after 12 games played.
Led by their large contingent of Brisbane Broncos affiliated players, the Magpies have dominated the first half of the 2023 regular season. They currently play with the second best attack in the competition, but it’s their defence that has set Souths Logan apart this year.
Conceding an average 17.6 points per game, the Magpies rarely make it easy for their opposition in attack.
How they handle the humid conditions and the hostile crowd at the Santos NFS this Saturday could end up being the difference in this one.
The Hunters have shown they can put points on anybody on their day, and they could make things interesting for the visitors if they can register a few points early.
Player to Watch
Tommy Moide is enjoying a breakout debut season in the QRL Hostplus Cup and has been one of the Hunters best over the last few weeks.
Elevated from a bench middle player to the starting lock position in the absence of injured skipper Ila Alu, Moide has taken to the increased role with aplomb.
A powerful runner of the ball with great late footwork, Moide is a real force in yardage. His average 95 running metres per game and 28 tackle busts is helping the Hunters to a healthy yardage gain around the ruck, and he gets through plenty of clean up work in defence with a 94.4% tackle efficiency, too.
Where Moide has been most influential though is in an on-the-ball role in attack.
Capable of straightening on his run and passing like a half, Moide’s ability to engage the defence before passing a teammate into space has been crucial to the Hunters attack with Alu on the sidelines.
Moide has great vision and isn’t afraid to take the line on himself when the opportunity presents itself. His two tries from his last two games is evidence of this.
With just 12 Hostplus Cup appearances to his name, Moide is still a work in progress. The early signs are promising, though.
1. Morea Morea
2. Brandon Nima (Captain)
3. Joshua Lau
4. Rodrick Tai
5. Solo Wane
6. Joshua Mire
7. Jamie Mavoko
8. Junior Rop
9. Judah Rimbu
10. Seal Kalo
11. Benji Kot
12. Epel Kapinias
13. Tommy Moide
14. Trevor Solu
15. Sanny Wabo
16. Casey Dickson
17. Philimon Kimisive
18. Julius Yakopa
19. Warren Glare
20. Sakias Komati
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