The two Australians NRL Immortals, who were special guests at the official launch of the SP Hunters in Port Moresby on Saturday night, believe the club has been built on a solid foundation and that augurs well for their future in the Queensland Cup.
Lewis and Johgns were part of a five-member delegation from Australia that included former Kangaroo Johnny Gibbs, who was the master of ceremony, QRL chief executive officer Rob Moore and Brendan O’Farell from the sponsor of the competition.
“Joey (Andrew Johns) and I were very impressed, we’ve been super impressed,” said Lewis, a former Queensland and Australia captain, who is affectionately known as the King Wally.
Both players arrived on Friday and visited the Hunters camp at Bomana.
They saw the gymnasium there and said it was comparable to facilities NRL clubs enjoy in Australia.
“We’ve been blown away,” Johns, a former New South Wales and Australian halfback, said in giving his stamp of approval to the Hunters set-up.
They autographed balls and jerseys that were auctioned on the night to raise funds for the Hunters.
They spent yesterday morning at Kaugere Oval before flying out in the afternoon.
An equally resounding accolade came from Moore, who said the inaugural team had captured the imagination of rugby league followers in Queensland, Australia and PNG.
He officially welcomed Hunters into Australia’s leading second-tier competition.
The Q-Cup had 15 players from last season graduate into the NRL this year.
“We are interested in what difference this team will make,” Moore said.
The Hunters, who become the 13th team in the competition, open the season against Redcliffe on Sunday in what is a Channel 9 televised game.
It is unclear which PNG TV station will relay the game, if at all.