BY KEVIN TEME
The PNG Hunters third consecutive loss in the 2019 Intrust super cup competition is heart wrenching for its fans.
Recently they lost by just two points to the Sunshine Coast Falcons, 28 to 26.
Fans across the country have called for the PNGRFL and the Hunters management to reshuffle the team’s halves combinations currently of Charlie Simon at dummy half, William Mone at half back and Justine TangueYoka at five-eight.
Yoka however impressed a bit in his debut on Sunday scoring a try while Simon who started the season played five-eight and was later moved to hooking did not impress much.
This was the same for William Mone who assumed the half back role and at times was flat footed, not directing plays.
Former PNG Kumuls and current president of the biggest rugby league association in the country, the Port Moresby Rugby League Inc, Dr. James Naipao joined the hordes of critics and said the good thing that came out from Hunters challenging the Falcons was the number six, Justin Tangue Yoka.
He said that was Yoka’s first game but added:
“The number seven (halfback) William Mone needs to go. He should be replaced. He’s entire time he is one line back in attack and staying at the back is when you are at the opponent’s red zone like say, 10 or 20 meters close to the opponent’s try line,” Dr. Naipao said this after watching two Hunters games at the Oil Search National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.
Naipao said staying at the back for the entire 80 mins of the game was nothing then being involved in directing plays when the going got tough.
“When you are picking a team, you need creative players, not just players that can always follow structure(d) football but pick players that can create something out of nothing to score tries when the going gets tough,” Dr. Naipao said.
He was frank that the current Hunters had nothing of that sort and said, certainly the halves needed a change in the team.
Last week former PNG Rugby League International Marcus Bai appealed for critics give support to coach Michael Marum and his team.
“I do not care if it is an NRL club like Brisbane Broncos or Melbourne Storm. If you lose players like the Boas brothers (Ase and Watson), the forwards and few from the backline that have the combination for the last six years it is very difficult to get new boys and understand what the coach wants them to do,” he said.Bai added the coaching/player combination transition for the players that have left like Ase, Watson and Wartovo Puara Jr started way back.
He urged the rugby league fanatics of PNG to respect Marum and try and help the team knowing that he (Coach Marum) will also be taking on board critics in his own way of managing the players.“Two ( Now 3) losses is a big blow for us but we, as a public including sponsors that transition is a big thing for any coach to comprehend or coach. Losing players in halves and hooker creates a massive hole to fill for these young boys,” Bai said.