Sport: PNG Hunters keen for home talent to come through ranks

1:49 pm on 6 January 2018

The coach of the Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league team says he's selected some exciting youngsters in his pre-season squad.

34 players are in the Hunters squad which coach Michael Marum said would be reduced to about 26 when the Super Cup season starts in March.

Marum said it's an opportunity for more home grown talent to come through the ranks.

"We sort of looked around and we identified a number of good young players again from the local domestic competition. So its just a matter of working with them over the next few weeks and see how they handle the pressure from the oppostion," he said.

The Hunters pre-season training started minus one of its stand out players from last year's championship winning side.

The prop forward and vice captain Wellington Albert has left the Hunters to take up a two year contract with the English Super League club the Widnes Vikings.

Marum said while it's a loss for his team it will inspire younger players.

He said Albert's Super League experience would benefit the PNG national team.

"You know all the other players will be looking forward to doing the same thing to, so with him going away in England there's a few other players who have left in the past and eventually they'll come back and strengthen the national side," he said

PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum.

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