Gains and Losses for 2019: PNG Hunters

It is no secret the PNG Hunters have suffered a huge loss of personnel in the off-season; with several their most experienced players making the most of their opportunities with overseas clubs.

The Boas brothers – five-eighth Ase and halfback Watson – have both made the move to UK club Featherstone Rovers alongside Thompson Teteh.

Forward Willie Minoga, hooker Wartovo Puara and back Stargroth Amean have also moved to England to play with Barrow Raiders.

There are a number of other players who have signed with rival Intrust Super Cup clubs as well, with Wynnum Manly snapping up hardworking forward Rahdly Brawa and back Edene Gebbie, while Nixon Putt will suit up for Norths Devils.

While the loss of experience is stark; coach Michael Marum will be hoping he can unearth some gems from his local league recruits.

One exciting player to watch however will be Gairo Kapana who has represented PNG in Rugby 7s, including recently at the 2018 Commonwealth Games held at the Gold Coast.

> Rugby World Sevens Gairo Kapana highlights

Bland Abavu is also a familiar name for Intrust Super Cup fans, with the 2017 premiership winning wing / fullback back in the Hunters colours.

Bland Abavu (with ball) and Stargroth Amean in action for the Hunters in 2017. Photo: QRL Media
Bland Abavu (with ball) and Stargroth Amean in action for the Hunters in 2017. Photo: QRL Media

GAINS: Gairo Kapana, Epel Kapinias (Rabaul Gurias), Shane Haro, Kevin Appo (Pom Vipers), Joe Joshua, Junior Rop (Lae Tigers), Daniel Tapol, Jerry Teme (Hela Wigmen), Brendon Nima, Nick Hasu (Goroka Lahanis), Joe Frank (Waghi Tumbe), Woods Kawage (Enga Mioks), Rex Kaupa (Southern Confederate), Justin Yoka, Jordon Pat (Highlands Confederate), Bland Abavu (Fassifern Bombers), Jack Oii (PRL).

LOSSES: Stargroth Amean, Wartovo Puara, Willie Minoga (Barrow Raiders), Ase Boas, Watson Boas, Thompson Teteh (Featherstone Rovers), Rahdly Brawa, Edene Gebbie (Wynnum Manly Seagulls), Brendon Gotuno (Penrith Panthers), Adam Korave, Muka Peter Kulu, Junior Bobby, Clyde Name, John Andy, Julius Yakopa, Silas Gahuna (Released), Nixon Putt (Norths Devils).

Where they finished in 2018: 7th

Coach for 2019: Michael Marum