Putt-ing in the hard yards

Putt-ing in the hard yards

Last year PNG legend David Mead named Nixon Putt as one of the Hunters he anticipated would eventually bang on the door of the NRL.

Yet, after a challenging start to the 2018 season for the reigning premiers, 22-year-old Putt is focusing on team goals first.

In a recent interview with QRL.com.au, Putt said that 'nerves' were partly to blame for the Hunters being slow out of the blocks.

"A lot of people may not realise that we've had quite a lot of players step up from local PNG clubs to Intrust Super Cup this year," said 175cm, 95kg Putt.

"They've only recently come into the coaching system.

"You could tell through some of the opening games that there were players who were nervous."

Heading into Sunday's Kokoda Cup game against Burleigh – a regular fixture of Anzac week in the Intrust Super Cup – the Hunters are in 11th spot.

With two wins and five losses from seven starts, they are in a bottom four, where only points differential separates them from Wynnum Manly, Tweed Heads and Mackay.

Meanwhile, Burleigh is charging ahead as one of the pacesetters in the competition, winning all but one encounter to date in 2018.

The Pizzey Park showdown will pit Putt against World Cup teammate Luke Page, who will captain the Burleigh side.

Putt made one appearance at the World Cup – a 64-0 victory against the USA.

"I learnt a lot from Pagey, from Kurt Baptiste, James Segeyaro, Nene Macdonald and David Mead when we were in camp for the World Cup," Putt said.

"For David Mead to come out and say what he did (that he was "excited" to see Putt in action) was a real confidence booster to me.

"And Pagey is the most fun guy that I know. He's into his music and was always dancing to rap artists.

"We were under a lot of pressure in front of big crowds at the World Cup, but having someone like Pagey kept it fun."

Last week's 20-12 loss to Souths Logan was Putt's 30th Intrust Super Cup game, meaning that he can no longer be considered a fresh addition.

In fact, with the loss of experience in the Hunters' squad, his international stripes make him somewhat of a leader among the team.

This season he has averaged a respectable 102.6 in running metres per game, but is coming off his least productive performance (54m v Souths Logan) of the current campaign.

His best was against the competition's other Gold Coast team, when he punched out 163m against Tweed Heads.

PNG faces Burleigh at 2pm Sunday at Pizzey Park.