New Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league coach Matthew Church says people can expect his team to play with plenty of "intensity" next season and he can't wait to get stuck into his new role.
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 semi-finals.
He also spent two years as an assistant coach with the Melbourne Storm Under 20s and was in charge of the Queensland Under 16s representative team.
The appointment is nostalgic for Church having first played in PNG 22 years ago.
"I actually played Queensland Cup, I made my debut in Port Moresby when they were the previous incarnation as the Port Moresby Vipers. So, ever since then going to Port Moresby as a 20-year-old from Australia really opened my eyes," Church said.
"A lot of Papua New Guineans that I've met over there or in Australia are always really lovely people. They're always very humble and very gracious with their time so it's something that definitely attracted me to the role."
The Hunters have made a huge impact in the Queensland Cup since their introduction in 2014 and Church has seen first-hand just how much of an effect PNG supporters have had on the competition.
"I was coaching at East when they first entered the competition and I think Queensland topside played them fairly early in the competition rounds and just the turnout of PNG support, they travel from far and wide to come to their games when they are in Australia so they've certainly made an impact from day one with their support."
The Hunters are known for playing an exciting, high-octane brand of rugby league and Church said he wanted the team to play with plenty of "intensity".
"If you look at Papua New Guinea rugby league one thing you don't have to worry about is that they run hard, they tackle hard so there's no concern with that. It's just being able to play a little bit smarter than probably what they have this year."
"Being able to play in numbers and work together and work in those effort areas - all of those areas that make you a good teammate."
Church said in the early stages he was more concerned about performance than results.
"Just as long we're continually improving, getting better than the week we were before. Those players that have turned over in the past few years have probably highlighted the need for a bit more development through the Digicel Cup (domestic competition in PNG) and that's where I see my role is to educate coaches and be able to lift their standards."
"The more coaches I can get to and work with and develop then that means the more players that the Hunters can have an education over."
Church succeeds inaugural Hunters coach Michael Marum, who led the team for six seasons including their title winning campaign in 2017.
Having worked as an assistant coach at various representative levels, he said the opportunity to working with players at the highest level has always been a goal of his.
"You always want to test yourself and grow into roles and I've been an assistant for a fair while and can get offered lower roles to be a head coach but I always try and work with players at the highest level.
"I think, regardless of what you're doing, you can make an impact [and I'm] really genuinely excited to be a coach at Intrust Super Cup level and the Hunters have a fan-base unlike any other team in the ISC competition," Church said.
A squad of 35 players will assemble in Port Moresby on Monday for the start of pre-season training. Church admits he's in for a real crash-course of learning who's who but says he's excited to learn more about the team, their backgrounds and PNG culture.
"Since 2017, the Hunters have had a huge turnover of players so a lot of the names will be new to me. I'm just looking forward to developing those players and the staff in and around the Hunters and hopefully working in the Digicel Cup (domestic competition in Papua New Guinea) as well to raise coach education," he said.