Sport: Champions bracing for physical PNG Hunters

11:05 am on 22 April 2017

A resurgent Burleigh Bears are bracing for a physical onslaught from the Papua New Guinea Hunters during Sunday's Queensland Cup rugby league match.

The Intrust Super Cup champions lost their first five matches of the season but wins over Tweed Heads and away to Townsville lifted them off the bottom of the ladder.

The Hunters edged high-flyers Redcliffe in Port Moresby last weekend to climb back inside the top six.

Burleigh coach Jimmy Lenihan said they were still without some key players and the task didn't get any easier against the visiting Hunters.

"What they possibly lack in a little bit of tactics they certainly make up for in physical presence," Lenihan said.

"They're one of those sides where you've got to relentlessly be on your guard all day to defend and they come really quick so this weekend for us it's not so much about being only tactical, it's about mentally getting ready for a very big physical battle," he said.

The Burleigh Bears and the PNG Hunters play for the Kokoda Cup

The Burleigh Bears and the PNG Hunters play for the Kokoda Cup Photo: EMTV

The Bears coach said the Hunters have always been a fairly successful side and at home their record is impeccable.

"Certainly on the road last year they were probably getting a little bit inconsistent but they still finish in the top three or four every year consistently so they're not losing too many games and any side that even entertains the thought that they're going to catch the Hunters off-guard is sort of kidding themselves," Lenihan said.

"We're fully aware of what's in front of us this weekend and we're hopeful for a good performance."

Burleigh won the corresponding ANZAC Day clash last year to regain the Kokoda Cup but the Hunters ran out 30-20 winners when the teams last met in August.

The Hunters won the first three away games this season, against Central Queensland, Souths Logan and Mackay, but were well beaten by Q-Cup leaders Sunshine Coast Falcons two weeks ago.