PNG Hunters Prepare for Must-Win Game in Round 5 of QRL Hostplus Cup

The SP PNG Hunters are gearing up for a crucial match against the Northern Pride in Round 5 of the QRL Hostplus Cup. The Hunters are set to play at Barlow Park in Cairns on Saturday, April 15th at 5:30pm.

The Hunters have had a mixed start to their 2023 season with one win, one draw, and one loss from their first three games. However, under new Head Coach Stanley Tepend, the team is showing positive signs of improvement. With a great opportunity to maintain their position inside the Top Eight, the Hunters are determined to come away with a win in Round 5.

Rookie fullback Morea Morea has been a standout player for the Hunters in the opening three games. However, it is the work of his teammates that is allowing him to shine in attack. The forward pack, led by Ila Alu, has been consistently strong and winning the yardage battle. Hooker Wesser Tenza and halves Jamie Mavoko and Sakias Komati have combined effectively to set up the attack, with Morea linking smoothly in the backline to shift the ball to spaces on the edge.

The Northern Pride, currently sitting in fifth place on the Hostplus Cup ladder, will provide a tough challenge for the Hunters. The Pride has one of the best defensive records in the competition, conceding an average of only 16 points per game. It sets up an exciting matchup, with the Hunters’ expansive attack pitted against the Pride’s resilient defence.

The Hunters will need to be on high-alert defensively, particularly around the ruck when defending their try-line. The Northern Pride are a constant threat out of dummy-half, with hookers Chris Ostwald and Denzel King sharing the role in 2023.

While the Hunters’ backline stars continue to impress, it is the work of their forward pack that deserves credit. Alu, Rop, and Kapinias have all been in strong form, helping the Hunters to win the middle and create scoring opportunities out wide. All three have been effective in yardage to get the Hunters rolling through the middle.

Experience and repetition at Queensland Cup level have been crucial for the Hunters’ success. Alu, Rop, and Kapinias have all played more than 40 games and are producing arguably career-best form to start the 2023 season. If they keep up their performances, it won’t be long before they trouble the scoreboard.

With a two-week break behind them, courtesy of a bye in Round 4 and the Easter long weekend, the Hunters are fit and raring to go. They know a win in Round 5 is crucial, and with their improved performances this season, they have every reason to be confident heading into this match.

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