JASON TALI has been drafted into the PNG Hunters providing coach Michael Marum extra options in his squad heading into the business end of the season.
The size of the Lae Snax Tigers centre makes him a welcome addition to the squad as he can also play in the back row if the need arises.
The Hunters have built their squad on versatility, with players rotated to cover more than one position and head coach Michael Marum is confident that Tali can adapt quickly to the intensity of the Intrust Super Cup.
The Snax Tigers have welcomed the Hunters interest in Tali with Club Manager Tim Rodgers, coach Stanley Tepend and Franchise Owner and Managing Director of Lae Biscuit Company Adrian Chow giving their full support and green light for Tali to join the Hunters immediately.
Tali iwas also keen to make the move and joined the Hunters in camp on Monday (yesterday).
The Hunters will release Tali to play for his Digicel Cup club if he is not selected in the Hunters final top 18 each week.
In related news, Noel Joel has been given permission to re-join the Tigers on a week-to-week basis if not required by the Hunters.
“This is a fantastic example of the Hunters and Digicel Cup teams working together to provide a pathway for PNG players to experience the various levels of competition that PNG is now exposed to,” PNGRFL CEO Brad Tassell said.
“The PNGRFL would like to acknowledge the support and cooperation of the PNGNRL Board and Chairman Sudhir Guru through the new PNGRFL and PNGNRL partnership agreement that has made this opportunity possible.
“Full credit also to the Snax Tigers organisation for recognising the importance of this pathway. I have addressed the Tigers coaching staff and players on a couple of occasions and have really enjoyed and been impressed by their attitude and growing professionalism.
“They are a credit to franchise owner Adrian Chow and no doubt it’s why they are doing so well this year.
“Jason is a World Cup player and is still young so that is a real plus for him. The coaching staff feel he can step up quickly to the week in week out standard and pressure of the Intrust Super Cup.
“He has now been given that opportunity and it’s all up to Jason where he goes to from here. I know Michael and the coaching staff has been keeping close tabs on a few players in the Digicel Cup and will continue to monitor players for possible elevation to the Hunters in consultation and cooperation with the Digicel Cup franchises.
“This highlights the importance of the Digicel Cup and we firmly believe this partnership can only strengthen rugby league in PNG at all levels.”
Snax Tigers franchise club manager Tim Rogers said they were excited about one of their players being given the opportunity.
“It’s a big plus for our organization that we can continue to produce quality rugby league players than can come through the pathway created onto the Hunters, the Kumuls and hopefully the NRL.
“We have put a lot of effort into our program, particularly over the past two years and have a strong base of junior talent coming through identified by working with the PNGRFL National Schoolboys program.
“Players such as Warren Glare and Nickson Borana who are heading to Glasgow with the Under 19 Kumuls are coming through the system which is great to see.
“A door has opened for Jason and that means another door opens for another young talented player to step up into the Tigers.
“Brad and the coaching staff have made themselves available whenever possible to our coaches and players and that’s great for the game.
“For too long there has been that lack of co-operation and willingness to work for the good of the game.
“It’s a new era and we believe this can only be positive for the future of PNG rugby league.”