Players from Digicel Cup Grand Finalists, the Hela Wigmen and Lae Tigers, feature heavily in the PNG Hunters 37-man train-on squad named this week.
Contributing eight players each, the Wigmen and Tigers join Minor Premiers, the Rabaul Gurias (6) and Port Moresby Vipers (5) in providing three-quarters of the team.
Hunters coach Matthew Church said during the announcement of his squad that pre-season would start next Sunday in Port Moresby.
“Our pre-season heading into Christmas will go ahead as normal,” he said.
The squad will travel to their homes on Dec 23 for the festive season before they return to camp on Jan 3 to resume preparations for the new season.
“There’ll be no changes into how I coach and how we operate,” Church said.”
“They (players) will undergo medical and fitness tests on arrival.”
“I’m looking forward to everyone getting into camp and re-uniting with the ones we were working with earlier this year.”
“I can’t wait to meet the new guys in the squad.”
“I have named a number of young guys in that squad, it’s essentially a transitional period.”
“A lot of those guys who I’ve named are probably getting close to the end of their careers so it’s about a transfer of leadership to some of the younger guys.”
“The younger we can expose them to the ISC (Intrust Super Cup), the more likely an NRL (National Rugby League) or Super League club is going to pick them up.”
Meanwhile, the omission from this year’s squad were Justin Yoka (Kimbe Cutters), Nick Hasu (Gulf Isou), Gairo Kapana (Central Dabaris), Baundo Aba (Waghi Tumbe) and Patrick Morea (Wigmen).
2020 PNG Hunters Squad:
Solo Wane, Samuel Yegip, Jeffrey Robert, Valentine Culligan, Norman Brown, Gilmo Paul, Judah Rimbu, Solomon Pokari (Wigmen), Edene Gebbie, Joe Joshua, Jokedi Bire, Charlie Simon, Junior Rop, Mark Pitti, Sylvester Namo and Edwin Ipape (Tigers), Stargroth Amean, Keven Appo, Brendon Gotuno, Ase Boas, Enoch Maki (Vipers), Junior Rau, Stanton Albert (Mendi Muruks), Brendan Nima (Lahanis), Benji Kot (Kimbe Cutters), Emmanuel Waine, Casey Dickson (Waghi Tumbe), Sunny Lipu, Rhadley Brawa, Ben Kennedy (Enga Mioks), Terry Wapi, Jordan Pat, Ila Alu, Stanley Olo, Wartovo Puara Jr, Epel Kapinias (Gurias), Rieko Jimmy (Isou).