The QRL Media Year in Review series continues with PNG Hunters. The Hunters were near unstoppable on home soil, however it was their away record that saw the defending premiers fall just short of the 2018 Intrust Super Cup finals series.
With the 2018 Intrust Super Cup season having drawn to a close QRL Media have decided to take a look back through the year for all 14 clubs to see what went right, what went wrong and what the club are likely to focus on going forward into the 2019 season. Keep an eye out on QRL.com.au in coming weeks for the remaining features.
More in the Intrust Super Cup Year in Review series
The Season By-The-Numbers:
Final Position on Ladder: 7th
Regular Season Win %:
- Won: 13
- Draw: 0
- Lost: 10
Home and Away Record:
- Home: 10-2
- Away: 3-8
- Scored: 444
- Conceded: 418
- F/A: 26
Players in Focus:
Standout Player: Watson Boas
- Tries: 12
- Try Assists: 6
- Line Break Assists: 3
- Average Kick M: 141m
- Forced Drop Outs: 13
Notable Player Mentions: Rahdly Brawa, Edene Gebbie and Junior Rau
Highlight: Round 20 – PNG Hunters upset competition heavy weights Burleigh Bears (20-10)
Notable Player Achievements:
- Junior Rau, Thompson Teteh, Edene Gebbie, Moses Meninga, Willie Minoga, Stanton Albert, Radley Brawa and Enock Maki (PNG Kumuls selection)
- Nixon Putt - (Hunters Player of the Year winner and PNG Kumuls selection)
- Ase Boas (400 Intrust Super Cup points and PNG Kumuls selection)
- Adex Wera (50 tries in the Intrust Super Cup and PNG Kumuls selection)
- Wartovo Puara (100 games in the Intrust Super Cup)
Key Factor: Away Record
The PNG Hunters were near unstoppable on home soil, winning 10 out of 12 games at Oil Search Stadium. However, the same cannot be said about their away record. The Hunters only managed to win 3 out of 11 away games. Unfortunately, Hunters left their worst performance until the final round of the competition, suffering a 38-22 defeat to the 13th placed CQ Capras at Browne Park, ultimately costing themselves a place in the 2018 finals series.
The Hunters finished the 2018 season in seventh position on ladder, sitting on equal points with Ipswich Jets and Easts Tigers. However, they failed to qualify for the finals as their for-and-against (26) was much lower than 6th placed Ipswich Jets (49), and 5th placed Easts Tigers (79).
Looking ahead to 2019:
The PNG Hunters will be looking to bounce back to the form that saw them take out the 2017 Intrust Super Cup premiership. The Hunters have one of the stronger squads in the Intrust Super competition; but will again have to contend with the loss of experience in 2019 with the Boas brothers and Thompson Teteh all leaving for the United Kingdom. We already know Hunters are a different team when they play at home; so if they can build some consistency with their away games next year, they will find themselves in a much stronger position heading towards the finals in 2019.