Players and coaching staff from the Hunters spent time in Central Province on Wednesday 8 February running coaching clinics for local rugby league associations in communities near the PNG LNG plant.
Local rugby league teams in Boera, Porebada, Papa and Lealea villages were put through their paces with the Hunters showing them warmup techniques, fitness training and ball handling skills. There was also a serious message behind the Hunters visit who also took the opportunity to talk to local players about drug and alcohol abuse.
The clinics were facilitated by PNG LNG, sponsor of the Hunters and PNG LNG Kumuls, in association with the Porebada Bulldogs club, the Buria Reds club of Lealea and the Boera and Koita Rugby League Association of Papa respectively.
To spend time with all communities, the 10 players including Vice Captain Wellington Albert and Coach Michael Marum, divided into two teams to share their knowledge and experience in coaching clinics at three local sports grounds.
Porebada Bulldogs Vice-Captain Maraga Lohia expressed delight and said most of the former PNG LNG Kumul players like Tara Gau, Airebo Taumaku, Mike Arere, Dairi Kovae and the Morea brothers were products of Porebada and the Hunters presence encourages the ambitions of players in his team to one day make it into the Hunters and Kumuls.
Koita Rugby League Association President Bisia Geita expressed his appreciation to EMPNG for bringing the Hunters to the local community to impart coaching skills and provide awareness on drug and alcohol abuse. “Going forward, I have an ambition of creating a rugby league academy combining all the four villages so that we have an identified pathway for the local youths” said Mr. Geita.
Hunters Coach Michael Marum said programs like this help the Hunters to impart skills and training and also to identify potential up and coming Hunters players. “We would like to work with the associations more so that we can run regular coaching clinics with them”, said Marum.
Marum was also appreciative of the presence of the large crowds who enthusiastically watched on and he took the opportunity to wish the Central 9’s rugby team all the best. The team was concurrently camping at Papa village in preparation for the PNG Games in Kimbe and participated in the coaching session.
PNG LNG plant Community Affairs Team Lead Marilyn Wingi thanked the Hunters, local rugby league associations and the PNG LNG community affairs team. “It has taken a team effort to make these successful clinics happen.”
Wrapping up a great experience for everyone, the Hunters players donated eight rugby balls, two to each of the respective rugby associations, as well as caps, flags, t-shirts, waist bags and Hunters posters.