Sport: PNG Hunters targeting first home win

11:09 am on 19 April 2019

The Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league team have a chance to climb further up the Intrust Super Cup ladder if they can secure a first home victory of the season this weekend.

The Hunters host the Ipswich Jets in Port Moresby tomorrow afternoon fresh from notching their first win of 2019 away to the Central Queensland Capras last Saturday.

The PNG Hunters secured their first win of the season away to the Central Queensland Capras.

The PNG Hunters secured their first win of the season away to the Central Queensland Capras. Photo: QRL Media

But, after beginning the season with five straight defeats, head coach Michael Marum is not getting carried away with one positive result.

"I had a look at the schedule and the points area yesterday and then again today after the matches (last weekend) so we just have to concentrate on our games, win our next one and then look forward, take one game at a time," he said.

"There's a lot of games remaining - the top eight is not far away but that's not what we're looking ahead for, we're just going to focus on one game at a time."

The Hunters first win of the season lifted them off the bottom of the Intrust Super Cup table and victory over Ipswich on Saturday would move them above the Northern Pride, Jets and Souths Logan Magpies into at least ninth place. A a win by 54 or more points would even be enough to replace the Mackay Cutters in the eighth and final playoff position.

Michael Marum said the 2017 Premiers are improving slowly but said there remained a lot of room for improvement, especially on defence.

"We allowed the opposition to get out of their trouble zone fairly quickly - we were not winning the ruck - so a lot of work has been put into that so slowly we're seeing some results in parts of the game (we're working on)," he said.

"The boys are trying to win their tackles and making sure they're applying pressure on the opposition who are trying to get out of their trouble zone. And on attack we want to make sure we complete our sets and get off a good kick and have a good line to defend again."

The PNG Hunters fine tune their preparations for the 2019 season.

The PNG Hunters still have plenty of room for improvement. Photo: PNG Rugby League

The Sunshine Coast Falcons are the only unbeaten team remaining in the competition after chalking up seven straight wins.

Despite dropping both matches at the National Football Stadium so far this season, Michael Marum said their narrow defeat against the league leaders showed the Hunters were not too far off the pace.

"We played the Falcons up here in round three - that was a loss 26-28. If we turn up and play our best football I think we can beat any team on the day."

Meanwhile Junior Rau has been dropped from the Hunters line-up to play Ipswich after missing two training sessions this week and is replaced on the left wing by Joe Frank, who made his debut off the bench in last weekend's win over the Capras.

Captain Adex Wera, Gairo Kapana and Rex Kaupa have all been named on an extended interchange bench and will have a chance to prove their fitness before kick-off.