Sport: PNG Hunters appoint new coach

8:13 am on 20 November 2019

Matthew Church has been appointed head coach of the Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league team on a two-year deal.

The Australian was an assistant coach with the Sunshine Coast Falcons last season when they won the Intrust Super Cup minor premiership and were beaten by eventual champions Burleigh in the preliminary final.

PNG Rugby League chairman Sandis Tsaka (L) shakes hands with new Papua New Guinea Hunters coach Matt Church.

PNG Rugby League chairman Sandis Tsaka (L) shakes hands with new Papua New Guinea Hunters coach Matt Church. Photo: Supplied/PNGRFL

He also spent two years as an assistant coach with the Melbourne Storm Under 20s and is the incumbent head coach of the Queensland Under 16s representative team.

PNG Rugby Football League chair Sandis Tsaka said an independent, three-man recruitment committee recommended Church's appointment to the board from an a list of 14 applicants, including three from PNG, and he urged everybody involved in the game and around the country to support him.

"Church has met all the necessary requirements and qualifications to be Head Coach of the SP PNG Hunters in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup competition for the next two seasons," Tsaka said.

PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum.

Matt Church replaces Michael Marum, who coached the Hunters for six seasons. Photo: RNZ Pacific/Melvin Levongo

Church succeeds inaugural Hunters coach Michael Marum, who led the team for six seasons including their title winning campaign in 2017, and said he was delighted to be given the opportunity to coach one of the premier teams in the Intrust Super Cup.

"My desire is to coach players at this elite level so they are able to achieve their goals," he said. "I am committed to developing players for a team environment and facilitating personal development and there is plenty of skill and talent in the SP Hunters players which I can nurture and develop to another level.

"It is a huge responsibility especially when taking over from Michael Marum. He was a successful coach and I hope to continue this success and standards."

A squad of 35 players will assemble in in Port Moresby next Monday to conduct medicals and begin pre-season training.