THOMPSON Teteh has paid the price for a lacklustre start to this year’s Intrust Super Cup season with PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum dropping the Kumul centre and Atte Bina for this weekend’s Round 5 clash with the Mackay Cutters.
Teteh, despite having a solid opening four rounds to the Queensland Rugby League competition, has failed to capture his best form, which saw the Eastern Highlander tagged as one of the team’s best attackers, while Bina, who took on the team’s play-making responsibilities in their 28-20 loss to the Sunshine Coast Falcons last Sunday, is the other notable absentee for Saturday night’s fixture at Stadium Mackay.
In a series of reshuffles to the backline, hooker Wartovo Puara Jr steps into the first receiver role in the No 7 jersey pushing youngster Watson Boas to five-eighth.
This is by far the biggest gamble by Marum, whose search for a shot-caller in the halves continues, with Ase Boas not expected back from a left hamstring tear until round 7 at the earliest.
Warren Glare shifts from the back-row to his more accustomed position at dummy half and Adex Wera, who deputised at fullback last game, takes the right centre spot left vacant by Teteh.
Tuvi Lepan, who scored a try last week, starts for the first time in the back-row.
Stargroth Amean returns at fullback, but more importantly, Marum’s bench configuration has more size and grit about it, with hard man Ishmael Balkawa coming back from a rest, while workhorse Edward Goma retains his spot on the pine.
Enock Maki, Philemon Kimisive and Benjamin Hetra have been named on the extended bench, which points to Marum’s realisation that having go-forward and size on the field is vital in matches where the opposition is big, fit and prepared to grind out sets.
Winger William Aquila replaces Justin Olam on the right edge and adds another yard or two of pace to the backline.
Olam’s non-inclusion is most likely due to injury because the Sina-Sina man has been one of the Hunters best over the opening four rounds.
He underlined his worth with several telling runs and tackles against the Falcons as well as a long range try late in the match at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Utility Gahuna Sailas is a casualty of the size mantra and has been dropped after debuting last week.
With the Hunters suffering from a lack of possession and territory for most of the Falcons game, the normally nippy acting half was forced out of his comfort zone and had little impact off the bench.
Hunters: Stargroth Amean, Bland Abavu, Noel Zeming (c), Adex Wera, William Aquila, Watson Boas, Wartovo Puara Jr, Henry Wan, Warren Glare, 10 Esau Siune, Nickson Borana, Tuvi Lepan, Brandy Peter; Reserves: Ishmael Balkawa, Enock Maki, Philemon Kimisive, Edward Goma, Benjamin Hetra (one to be omitted).
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Downer Rugby League 9s World Cup
- PNG Kumuls 0 Australia 26
- PNG Kumuls 18 New Zealand Kiwis 18
- PNG Kumuls 23 USA Tomahawks 10
Pacific Test Results
201 9 - PNG Kumuls 28 Great Britain Lions 10
2019 - Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 20
2019 - PNG Kumls 6 Samoa 24
2018 - PNG Kumuls 26 Fiji Bati 14
2017 - PNG Kumuls 32 Cook Islands 22
2016 - PNG Kumuls 24 Fiji Bati 22
2015- Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 22
World Cup Results
Round 1 : PNG Kumuls 50 Wales 6
Round 2: PNG Kumuls 14 Ireland 6
Round 3 PNG Kumuls 64 USA 0
Quarter Finals : PNG Kumuls 6 England 36