It’s been seven days since the SP PNG Hunters last took the field in the QRL Hostplus Cup competition and they get a chance this afternoon to respond to the loss last weekend when they take on the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls at BMD Kougari Oval at 3pm.
The Hunters have endured a tough week’s preparation following a disappointing loss to the Townsville Blackhawks in Round nine’s match. The Blackhawks were far too strong for the visiting Hunters in that game, dominating in yardage to slowly pile on the points.
The Hunters showed glimpses of their attacking potential but didn’t win enough of the little contests to put themselves in a position for a comeback.
A 60th minute try to speedster Solo Wane highlighted the attacking prowess of the Hunters as they made a break down their left edge in yardage before shifting smoothly through the backline to Wane in the right-hand corner. The combination of Wesser Tenza, Sakias Komati, Jamie Mavoko and Morea Morea has been a highlight of the Hunters 2023 campaign and all four spine players will need to be at their best again when they play this afternoon.
How the Hunters respond to last week’s loss in Round 10 against Wynnum-Manly will be a good test of character for the PNG-based club, given the Seagulls currently sit above the Hunters in 9th place on the QRL ladder. A win against Wynnum-Manly would put PNG within touching distance of the Top Eight.
The Seagulls come into this afternoon’s fixture fresh off the bye and will field a strong contingent of NRL-contracted players. Deine Mariner, Delouise Hoeter and Tyson Smoothy are among the first-grade representatives that will line up for Wynnum-Manly in QRL Round 10 and how the Hunters contain their impact will go a long way to deciding the result.
A powerful line runner and bruising defender, Laka will surely receive plenty of attention from his former teammates when he takes the field for the home side this afternoon.