Sport: PNG Hunters claim underdog tag for final

1:56 pm on 21 September 2017

The Papua New Guinea Hunters are claiming underdog status for this weekend's Intrust Super Cup rugby league grand final.

The Port Moresby based club will take on Sunshine Coast Falcons at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

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Photo: Hunters Nation Facebook

Head coach Michael Marum said his team will be at full strength for the title decider, after resting up during a bye last weekend, but, despite finishing as minor premiers, insisted they won't start the match as favourites.

"A lot of expectations from everyone up here, they always want us to win,"but the good thing is we're probably rated as underdogs," he said.

"Favourites is Falcons, they're the favourites for the title, but that's what we want and the boys have been preparing well so far.

"They've all stuck together and no one is getting ahead of themselves and doing stuff on their own and it's more of a team effort, everyone putting in.

"Even the players that are not part of the squad but they're still travelling (with the team) - it's a good feeling in camp here".

PNG Kumuls coach Michael Marum surveys training.

PNG Kumuls coach Michael Marum surveys training. Photo: Facebook / PNG Kumuls

The Hunters have chalked up a series of milestones this season - securing their first minor premiership and winning their first finals match, at the fourth attempt - but they were outclassed 38-14 in their only encounter with Sunshine Coast so far this season at the start of April.

The Hunters missed the playoffs by one point in their debut campaign in 2014 and have since qualified for the post-season three years running.

Michael Marum's been in charge the whole way through and said the team continues to improve.

"Over the past three years no one expected us to come this far so to get the minor premiership and then win the major semi-final (and) get into the grand final ahead of the other teams is a big achievement for us," reflected Marum.

"There's another football game coming up, which is only 80 minutes of football, so we can add on to that long list of history.

"Definitely the boys are going out there with all their minds clear what to expect from the Falcons and do well for the country".

A reception was held for the team at Parliament on Wednesday, while it's a busy weekend for rugby league in PNG, with the Kumuls also taking on the Australian Prime Minister's 13 and PNG Orchids taking on the Australian Women's team on Saturday in an international double header at the National Football Stadium.