While Hunters sides have held their own against other forward packs in the competition, the playmaking department has always been the key to the Hunters’ competitiveness.
Coach Michael Marum will be banking on the familiar Boas-Eliab pairing to spark the PNG franchise and build momentum with a first up win on the road.
WITH the club declaring their goal in 2017 was to win a finals match, the East New Britons’ combination could be the missing piece of the puzzle for the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored side in their fourth year in the Queensland competition.
Taking on the Capras away in their cup opener should not provide too many nerves for Marum’s men, who dusted off the cobwebs with a grinding 24-18 win over the Northern Pride in a trial match in Cairns two weeks ago.
Marum, pictured, was referring to the game management and shot-calling off the pair that would be tested in the opener when he described earlier this week the fixture at Browne Park, Rockhampton, as a big test for his side.
The 43-year-old was candid in his assessment of the Boas-Eliab partnership in the Pride game admitting their combination was less than satisfying.
But given the amount of work and dedication during training, Marum said he still had a lot of faith in his first choice playmakers and was positive they would deliver.
“Israel was not at his best in that trial, he had a few bad kicks and didn’t go through the line but he’s been working hard on that at training,” Marum said.
“On the other hand, Ase had a good game but he also has a lot of weight on his shoulders as well leading the team as the captain.
“So with Israel around him helping him, they’ve played together in the past so if they play one or two games together again, that combination should come good,” Marum said.
Boas, 28, admitted that their only trial match was scrappy but he was hopeful in his combination with Eliab would click and the rest of the team would follow suit.
“We’ve played in the halves together before and the combination is not new,” Boas said.
“The trial game was a bit scrappy because we had lot of new boys in the side that need to be familiar with our plays, but we’ve looked at those areas at training since then and we’re looking forward to the first game.”
The 26-year-old Eliab, who is a two-time Q-Cup five-eighth of the year, was looking forward to picking up where he left off with Boas – ironically the last time they played in 2015, he was captain. “Ase is not new to me, he’s got his own block on the field on the right and I am on the left so he knows what to do and we both play our parts along with the dummy half,” Eliab said.
“We had a good combination back in 2015 before I went to England so there is nothing new and no pressure on us.
“We’re just going down this weekend to enjoy the game and do our best to come back with the two points,” Eliab, who had a stint with the London Broncos in England last year, said.
The duo’scombination in the halves dates back to 2011 when both played with the Agmark Gurias in the Digicel Cup competition.
The kicking duties will be shared among the pair as instructed by Marum, however, Boas handle the conversions. The National