Sport: PNG Hunters travel to Ipswich in battle of the in-form teams

10:47 am on 20 May 2017

The Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league team can go top of the Intrust Super Cup, if only briefly, with a win at the Ipswich Jets this afternoon.

The Hunters are riding a three-match winning streak, while a bye last weekend kept them level on points with the pace-setting Redcliffe Dolphins, who play tomorrow.

Adex Wera is back from suspension for the Hunters this weekend.

Adex Wera is back from suspension for the Hunters this weekend. Photo: Courtesy of

But 2015 Premiers Ipswich have also hit top form recovering from a poor start to the season with four wins on the bounce.

Jets co-coach Shane Walker said they are on red alert to shut down the Hunters ball carriers at North Ipswich Reserve.

"PNG play quite a structured game and they're very very disciplined however if they do get an offload certainly their natural instincts and flair for the game come out and they certainly do look more like the Ipswich Jets than the PNG Hunters once that happens," he said.

"So we're certainly going to have to be on top of our game and limit their offloads because if they do get one they tend to get multiple offloads and everyone becomes quite energised and hard to stop."

Two of the Jets star performers will be no strangers to the PNG Hunters.

Left wing Richard Pandia already has nine tries in eight games this season while older brother Sebastian Pandia played for the Hunters before moving to Ipswich last season.

Sebastian Pandia on the charge for the Ipswich Jets.

Sebastian Pandia on the charge for the Ipswich Jets. Photo: Courtesy of

Shane Walker said the PNG pair have been in fine form over recent weeks.

"It was great to see Richie get his test jersey recently and play for PNG - did an outstanding job. He's been one of our best players all season, as has Sebastian, his older brother," Walker said.

"He was probably desperately unlucky not to make the team but how they pick their team and who gets picked is up to them. It will certainly add a bit of spice and flavour to the matchup on the weekend given that both Pandia boys are in great form and obviously PNG nationals themselves."

"They're looking forward to it and I can imagine the fans will enjoy the contest," he said.

The PNG Hunters have a much improved record away from home in 2017, winning three of their four games in the Sunshine State.