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PNG Hunters: Cup gains and losses for 2022

The PNG Hunters have officially confirmed their 26-man playing squad that will be based in Australia to compete in the 2022 Hostplus Cup competition.

Head coach Matthew Church announced the squad this week and expressed his excitement for the season ahead.

“It is my absolute pleasure to announce the final squad of 26 for the upcoming 2022 season,” Church said.

“We have an exciting mix of returning and new players from PNG’s premier rugby league competition the Digicel Cup, and there is a real hunger within the group to perform, challenge each other and strive towards a better season in 2022.”

Church also confirmed the PNG Hunters’ leadership model for the 2022 season.

“I am proud to announce that Keven Appo (2021 vice-captain) steps up alongside Ila Alu (2021 captain) to be co-captains of the Hunters in 2022,” Church said.

“They will be joined in a leadership group with 2022 vice-captain Brandon Nima.

“All three players have been dominant voices throughout an encouraging pre-season.”

The players retained from the 2021 season are: Terry Wapi, Solo Wane, Brandon Nima, Gilimo Paul, Judah Rimbu, Ila Alu, Samuel Yegip, Slyvester Namo, Dilbert Isaac, Jordan Pat, Keven Appo, Emmanuel Waine and Benji Kot (Ben Kelly).

This will be the second year the PNG Hunters have relocated from Papua New Guinea to Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast in order to compete in the competition.

Church acknowledged the added difficulty, but said his squad was motivated to perform.

“Last year presented plenty of challenges, none more so than many of the Hunters’ players living in a new country for the first time,” Church said.

“Like most first time adventures, you can't expect to always get things right and we’ve taken confidence from lessons learnt in 2021.

“Season 2022 has the promise to be better still.

“On behalf of the playing squad and staff, I would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of our sponsors, partners and stakeholders that make all this possible.

“Without your support we couldn’t do what we love and that is represent you all and PNG in the best light.

“To the families of the Hunters’ players and staff, thank you for supporting them on this journey.

“To everyone across PNG, please stay safe. We take great honour in representing you all and aim to bring you pride every time we play in 2022.”

PNG Hunters 2022 gains and losses

Gains: Jesse Matthew (Waghi Tumbe), Liam Joseph (Agmark Gurias), Rodrick Tai (Snax Tigers), Mark Tony (Snax Tigers), Jamie Mavoko (Snax Tigers), Kingstimer Paraia (Port Moresby Vipers), Casey Dickson - Kupil Taime - (Snax Tigers), Anthony Worot (Kimbe Cutters), Kitron Laka (Snax Tigers), Sherwin Tanabi (Snax Tigers), Francis Kembis (Waghi Tumbe), Wesa Tenza (Mendi Muruks), Junior Rop (Snax Tigers)

Losses: Wartovo Puara, Norman Brown, Brendon Gotuno, Junior Rau, Epel Kapinias, Solomon Pokare, Edwin Ipape, Jokadi Bire, Mark Piti, Ase Boas, Charlie Simon, Jeffery Robert, Enoch Maki, Stanton Albert, Joe Joshua

*Submissions made by clubs and correct at time of publication. 

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