12 Dec 2015

Sport: PNG Hunters coach says departing captain a big loss

10:10 am on 12 December 2015

Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league coach Michael Marum says the departure of captain Israel Eliab will leave a massive hole in the team next season.

The 24 year old Eliab has led the Hunters during their first two seasons in the Queensland Cup competition, including this year's run to the preliminary final, but is about to move to the England after signing a one-year deal with London Broncos.

He also captained PNG's gold medal winning nines team at the Pacific Games and has played for the Kumuls national team since 2013.

PNG captain Israel Eliab and coach Michael Marum

Israel Eliab and Michael Marum have worked together with the PNG Hunters, Kumuls and at the Pacific Games [pictured]. Photo: RNZI/Vinnie Wylie

Hunters coach Michael Marum says Eliab has been an inspirational leader and won't be easy to replace but has earned his chance in the UK Superleague.

"He's sorting out final visa details and will be off by the end of the month. Bit tough on him leaving the team but that's the decision he had to make. Let's see if he can go down and impress in his full season down there at London Broncos".

Michael Marum says he's not sure who will take over the Hunters captaincy just yet but says there are a few options for him to consider.

The extended squad has just completed their third week of pre-season training and Marum hopes to confirm his final 25-man squad for 2016 by the end of next week.