HEAD Port Moresby Viper Larson Marabe says three losses this year at the hands of the Rabaul Gurias are more than enough.
“There will not be a fourth … I can promise you that,” Marabe, the Vipers inspirational skipper, vowed yesterday.
The capital city slickers are staring down the barrel of another failed campaign as they prepare for the mammoth task of outwitting the reigning champions in the Digicel Cup rugby league preliminary final at the Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby on Sunday.
The winner will play minor premiers Goroka Lahanis in the grand final on Sunday week.
The Vipers have not reached this stage of the play-offs for a long time and that incentive adds spice to what is looming as a do-or-die blockbuste.
Riding high on the back of the 28-16 win over the Enga Mioks in a violence-disrupted game, Marabe is prepared to put his body on the line to break everybody’s expectations of a Gurias-Lahanis grand final.
“Mipela brukim nupela graun long kam olsem, husat tok bai mipela pundaun nating long ol Gurias,” a defiant Marabe said.
The man from Hela heads a talented engine room that includes Sebastian Pandia, Enoch Maki, rising potential Adam Korave, Steven Johns and inter-change Dick Nap.
One possible bonus is the likelihood that five-eighth Peter Paulus, winger Michael Mark and centre Toby Kapi could return into coach Leonard Tarum’s calculations as well after deliberations with all parties concerned this week.
For the Gurias, coach Michael Marum has a class outfit and is likely to stick to last weekend’s line-up.
Marum yesterday said the Vipers were heavy up front and they had been working to nullify that this week.
“They have some good plays around the ruck area, which we are wary of,” he said. “As long as we contain them from breaking out we should be in for a good chance,” he said. Marum said there were no major casualties from the loss on Sunday and preparations had been good, with all players available and training well.
Probably the only addition that could pay dividends would be to bring in the rarely used Kumul prop Rodney Pora to use his experience on the big stage.
With the Vipers defence improving this season, it will test Marum’s game plan of attacking wide.
Likely Vipers starting line-up: Josiah Abavu (full-back), Gary Lo, Mark (wings), Richard Kambo, Kapi (centres), Paulus (five-eight), Israel Eliab (half-back), Korave (lock), Marabe, Pandia (second-row), Charlie Wabo (hooker), Maki, Steven Johns (props).
Likely Gurias starting line-up: Boas Ruru (full-back), William Aquila, Emmanuel Toide (wings), Francis Paniu, Jackie Marcus (centres), Dion Aiye (five-eight), Ase Boas (half-back), Danny Patrick (lock), Emmanuel John, Kevin Frank (second-row), Wartovo Puara Jnr (hooker), Joe Bruno, Travis Waninara (props).