Ipswich Jets PNG brothers Sebastian and Richard Pandia will lead their team against fellow countrymen the Hunters in their do-or-die Round 21 clash at the National Football Stadium this weekend.
It was against the Hunters in Round 12 that the defending premiers ended their early-season losing streak and begin the find their form.
With the different style of footy the Walker Brothers coach, it is set to be an entertaining game.
Ipswich – who lost to the Burleigh Bears last weekend – will aim to cause an upset against the in-form Hunters, however with the inclusion of Pandia brothers might gain them some local support.
Older brother Sebastian (who joined Ipswich this season) is a Port Moresby junior playing in the local leagues before leading the Port Moresby Vipers to the grand final victory in 2013. He was then drafted to the inaugural Hunters side and spent two seasons there.
In an interview earlier this year, Sebastian described his new club as “family oriented and the best club ever”. Sebastian is renowned for his work ethic in the field with regards to his defence and hit-ups.
His younger brother Richard made a name for himself having won an Intrust Super Cup premiership and the State Premiership with Ipswich.
He has drawn comparisons to PNG and Melbourne Storm legend Marcus Bai by his co-coach Shane Walker, with the younger Pandia is also a star in making with his dynamic running style.
However, the PNG Hunters haven't lost a match at home and will be full of confidence with the crowd behind their team.
The Ipswich Jets have a good relationship with rugby league in Papua New Guinea and allowed the 2010 PNG Kumuls to train at the club’s facilities. They also gave current Digicel Cup coach of the Lae Snax Tigers Stanley Tepend to study the club’s training routines last year. No wonder they are leading the competition this year.
Also PNG born players and former Internationals like Desmond Mok, Trevor Exton and Rod Griffin have had stints with the club.