Four Eastern conference franchises go head to head with the match of the round between the Agmark Gurias of Kokopo and unbeaten Lae Tigers in the main game set to be a blockbuster.
The second match is the most anticipated match as the Gurias on four points will try to regain the top spot which they lost to the Tigers, after losing to Mioks last weekend in terrible fashion when they were hammered 20-6.
Tigers are well-rested following last weekend’s bye.
Former Goroka Lahanis Glen Nami is right at home in the number six jumper partnering halfback Ate Bine Wabo who has settled in well as chief playmaker. The Tigers back line must also be on alert for the Gurias pacey backs, who are expected to fire up after their quiet campaign against the Mioks at the same ground.
Gurias captain Travis Waninara has to get his boys organised especially at their new halves pairing which is expected to be controlled by five-eight Jason Missian and Watson Boas.
Winger Ezra Kautu and centre Chris Jerry will also be under the spotlight after they failed to stop Mioks Joe Kingal who scored twice down their channel.
Danny Patrick and Emmanuel John have been good for the Gurias and should put up a strong show against Tigers Ishmael Balkawa and Petero Sanivalu and Sydney Fred.
In the earlier match, the attraction of the three Fijian’s Jone Uneune, Livai Naivogo, and Semi Wainiqolo lining up for the Gulf Isapea against the Enga Mioks will ensure a feast of action.
The ‘bula sapea’ have yet to register a win and with pressure mounting, coach Bobby Ako will be looking for his crocodiles to step up in this vital clash. PNG NRL general manager Hubert Warupi said the Isapea always has strong support in the Morobe capital.
“With the Mioks causing the upset of the round against the Gurias, it should make for a fiery appetiser for the main game,” Warupi said.
The Mioks have installed former rugby union representative Jackson Pato as captain and hooker while inspirational Joe Kingal shifts to lock, half Willie Guambo and former Isapea winger Karo Kauna Jnr are favoured to give coach Timothy Lepa another win. Warupi said the Snax-sponsored Tigers, who lead the Eastern pool and have already showing that they mean business this season.
“With the Gurias eager to get back on track as well it’s going to be an exciting Sunday afternoon in Lae city.”
Fixtures: Pool 1 – Wigmen vs Muruks, Eagles vs Lions, Bye-Vipers; Pool 2 – Tigers vs Gurias, Mioks vs Isapea, Bye- Lahanis.