PNG Hunters coach Matthew Church says the 2021 pre-season train- on squad were advanced in their training from the same stage last pre-season. He added this was due to a combination of those players returned for their second season under his coaching methods and the ownership from them teaching the new ones.
“When you have your players doing some of the coaching to make their team mates better is the start of a culture you want in an elite team,” Church said when updating the media after the 2nd week of pre- season training in Port Moresby today.
He said Edwin Ipape, who has experience of a pre-season in Australia, was an example of a player who has been sharing information with his team mates on what to expect in Queensland. “He is a real asset to the Hunters program and personally, I’m really enjoying getting to know him,” the coach said.
Church said Edwin has some skills and can play in the halves and hooker. “The introduction of the ‘six again rule’ into the ISC next season will suit someone of Edwin’s talents greatly,” he said. “Edwin has already suggested to me he will play wherever is best for the team and you have to like that commitment to the cause.”
The coach said the 2nd week of camp focused on defensive movements patterns, working on feet/body placement, tackle technique and marker roles and responsibilities. “We are building slowly and making sure the players understand everything we are doing so that these become habits,” he said. “Under fatigue, you go back to habits and we want to create good habits.”
On the injury front, Ase Boas’s hand is progressing well while Joe Joshua has a left over hamstring strain from the Digicel Cup.
Rhadley Brawa joined the camp over the weekend and started training today.
Church said there was some built in buffer when the original squad was assembled and a new player would struggle to make an impression to make the final cut in the short timeframe. “I am comfortable with our outside backs in this group and their performance at training,” he said.
The 35 players and coaching staff will take a break on December 23, 2020 to spend the festive season with families and friends and return on January 3, 2021.
Photo Credit: SP PNG Hunters / PNGRFL