The Wigmen just missed out on the 2018 finals with a loss to the Goroka Lahanis during the final round of the normal season. Lahanis went on to become the 2018 premiers. 2019 saw them experience the hearth break of a grand final match. But it is no fluke being the last 3 teams remaining. Before COVID-19 the Wigmen were already having trial matches in Australia and Fiji getting a side prepared for what was supposed to be another normal season of rugby league.
For the Gurias 2020 will leave a sad note in the teams archives. Papa Guria as he was known by adoring followers and throughout PNG sadly passed away after a long brave battle with cancer. When receiving the 2020 minor premiership Gurias captain Wartovo Puara Jr dedicated the achievement to the late John Nightingale. And yes, the team intends to dedicate the 2020 premiership cup to Papa Guria.
The matchup between the Agmark Rabaul Gurias and the Kroton Hela Wigmen will come down to strategy and both teams will be looking to take full advantage of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It will come down to key personnel on the field who must lead within a certain unit.
The Gurias are renowned for speed and agility and have it to their advantage, especially when you add Watson Boas and Terry Wapi into a backline built on natural speed. It comes down to ball security in attack and a sturdy defense.
The Gurias have a good agile forward pack with youth. Throw in the experienced Wartovo Puara Jr marshalling a 6 foot 10 Epel Kapinias alongside pocket dynamo Ila Alu and you have a forward pack just as lethal as their backline.
The Wigmen are warriors to put it simply. Every game is a battle and with any battle there needs to be a battle plan. There a certain players who go above and beyond to deliver but each position just like any fighting platoon has a role to play. Each opposing team is closely studied to detail and there is no consistent or signature style of play. You can only expect an onslaught of hard running, hard hitting and hard tackling for the full 80 minutes.
Stanford Talita who has been moved into the second row up front gives them even more depth with running the ball. Stalwarts such as Gilmo Paul, Solo Wane and Norman Brown have been consistent all year at the back. With work horses in the likes of Valentine Culligan, Kitron Laka up front you can expect a simple game plan of last man standing.
At the end of the day it is pretty much do or die and the final hurdle to the grandfinal. We wish both teams the best of luck!
Kickoff is at 3pm on Sunday 11th October 2020 at the Sir John Guise Stadium.
Feature Pic: Wigmen at Training (Photo Credit: PNGRFL)