PNG Hunters in danger of losing focus before Ipswich match

7:50 am on 5 August 2017

The Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league coach says despite his team leading the Intrust Super Cup competition they have lost focus at an important point in the season.

The Hunters haven't won since their round 19 bye, drawing 22-all with the Mackay Cutters and then losing to the Redcliffe Dolphins 28-12.

PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum.

PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum. Photo: RNZI / Melvin Levongo

Michael Marum said there have been a number of issues including players not wanting to train.

"Our boys are just losing focus on the main part of the season," he said.

"We have addressed a few issues with the team over the past month but they just seem to [be] not responding well.

"This week has just been a disturbing week because the players petition that they train too much and they don't won't to put in the effort. We are telling them to do the basics, the really small things, get it right because you know it is going to cost us the season."

The players didn't turn up for training on Tuesday prompting numerous meetings and the use of the team chaplain to iron out differences.

"It is just one or two boys in the playing group who are probably leading this," Marum Said.

"We suspect a few players that are doing it so we will pull them aside next weekend after this match and have a quiet word with them."

The Hunters coach said this afternoon's game against the Ispwich Jets is hugely important if they are to stay at the top of the competition ladder.

PNG Hunters also beat the Northern Pride at home in April.

The Hunters, in happier times, beating the Pride back in April Photo: RNZI / Melvin Levongo

Marum said the team will need to get over their differences or the season could be lost.

"We can't afford to have a bad game.

"Lose again and we can drop down to number three or number four position. We understand that teams are below us that haven't got their second bye so their points are still coming."

Marum said some of the problems started when the team moves its base into the capital.

"There are a lot of distractions and not like the last three seasons when we were based out of Kokopo," he said.

"In Port Moresby, it is a big city. The main concern for us was how they go back in camp.

"They just go around with the people that go and pick them up. It's not resting enough. They are not spending their time wisely," Marum said.

The coach believes the organisation accommodates for the players and have done everything for them as elite athletes.

However he said distractions are from everywhere else.

"Social media is one of them, but the list goes on."

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Photo: SP Hunters