The PNG Hunters 2019 Awards held at the Hilton Hotel in Port Moresby on Thursday 5 September saw various Hunters players awarded for their performances throughout the 2019 season.
Although having finished second from the bottom in the Intrust Super Cup competition in 2019, the Hunters ended their season on a positive note on the weekend in a nail-biter to defeat the Souths Logan Magpies at Davies Park, Brisbane 25-24 thanks to a field goal from Ase Boas.
Notable award winners on the night were Mckenzie Yei taking out the 2019 Player of the Year award, Top point scorer was none other than Ase Boas and Rookie of the year went to Terry Wapi.
Speaking at the Awards, Vice Minister for Sport Hon Wesley Raminai reiterated the current government’s focus on sports. He also emphasised on the the players to deliver and play to their best whilst still in their prime and take advantage of every opportunity given. Raminai said “The future and development of sports in the country can only become a reality through a partnership through schools and education.” The Vice Minister gave his assurance to the Hunters and corporate sponsors that the Government is working in the background to eventually have a PNG team in the NRL.
Ed Weggemans, SP’s new Managing Director taking over from Stan Joyce, whilst committing to a further 3 year sponsorship of the Hunters said that the Brewery “will continue to be a credible partner” for the PNG Hunters.
An emotional Michael Marum then took to the podium for the last time as head coach of the Hunters, giving his final salute to the team and all the stakeholders. Marum announced that he will now return to East New Britain to focus on the development of rugby league in the province, stating that it is something that he is very passionate about.
PNGRFL Chairman Sandis Tsaka said that partnership is the key word in the avenues sports can promote and bring development at home and abroad. He pointed out that within 6 years, PNG Hunters have been able to export 26 players overseas. Chairman Tsaka went on to say that “a lot of sacrifices have had to be made by both the coaching team and players alike. 80 minutes is just a small window in the preparations and work involved in getting them ready for the competition in the ISC.”
“It costs around 9 million kina to make it possible for the Hunters to take part in the QRL ISC and it wouldn’t be possible for the backing of the sponsors” Tsaka stated.
Here are all the main awards and awardees from the ceremony:
- Best Back 2019: Junior Rau – 8 tries.
- Best Forward 2019: Kevin Apo – 14 appearances, debut in 2019
- Best Defender 2019: Nicky Hasu
- Top point scorer: Ase Boas – 101 appearances
- Top Try scorer: Brandon Nima – 9 tries 20 appearances
- Chairman’s Bunara Award – Most consistent performance: Brandon Nima
- Players Player of the year: Moses Meninga
- Rookie of the year: Terry Wapi
- Coach’s award: Enock Maki – 50 matches this season
- Club’s Man Award 2019: Edward Moses Guise (Trainer)
- Player of the year 2019: Mckenzie Yei
On a closing note, senior PNG Hunter Adex Wera has denied reports on media and social media that he is retiring at the end of the 2019 season. More details to emerge from the coming days.