Without the notable household names and what most sports pundits and fans alike termed as the new look PNG Hunters, the team took to the field at the Piggabeen Sports Complex to showcase for the first time against the Tweed Heads Seagulls in round one of the ISC for the 2019 season.
With five new debutants donning the coveted Hunters jersey for the first time, even key roles such as the halve pairing, hooker and the captaincy exhibited new recruits.
The competition kick-starting a week earlier to the official NRL season, this gave opportunity for feeder teams in the ISC to audition NRL potential and hopefuls.
The Tweed Heads Seagulls, a feeder club for the Gold Coast Titans took full advantage of the occasion with Leilani Latu, Ryley Jacks, Treymain Spry and Ione Seiuli who ran out for the Seagulls alongside former NZ Warriors and Norths Devil forward John Palavi, all having been training with the NRL squad to have a hit out in Round 1 of the competition.
It was an evenly contested affair with both sides equal in defense allowing for a scoreless first half. The new look Hunters certainly quashing any doubts by fans and observers dominating defensively in the first half but were unable to utilize and execute on the opportunities presented both in possession and field of play.
It came down to experience and composure which saw the Tweed Heads Seagulls crossover twice in the second half with a 10 points to nil victory over the PNG Hunters.