PNG Hunters coach still proud of team despite finals defeats
The PNG Hunters rugby league coach says his team achieved a lot in their second season, despite failing to qualify for the grand final.
Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league coach Michael Marum says the team has plenty to be proud of despite a disappointing end to the season.
The Hunters slumped to a 28-12 defeat against the Ipswich Jets in the Queensland Cup preliminary final.
It was the second straight finals loss for the Hunters, who had 17-games without defeat in the regular season.
Michael Marum told Vinnie Wylie it was a tough way to bow out but they will learn from it.
MICHAEL MARUM: It's really disappointing to see but at the same time all our players are new to that level of football, finals football, so we just made a lot of errors.
VINNIE WYLIE: Obviously you had a 17-game unbeaten run and that got a lot of coverage but you seemed to be able to handle it quite well because there was a lot of focus on it for a long time, but when it came to the finals you lost both matches. Did you notice a difference in intensity in the finals games?
MM: Finals football is a bit different. The regular season games there were players that were not there during the finals so that made a difference. Again, it was away from us as well and we had to travel two weekends for both games. There is a lot of things we probably achieved this year and that is a positive sign for the team as we [go forward].
VW: You did go 17 games unbeaten, you did make the finals series for the first time, you did get very close to finishing as the top team and the Blackhawks who are the current minor premiers you beat them twice so there is a lot to look back on and be proud of.
MM: Yeah that's right - we've got all those records now. It's going to be sad not to make it to the grand final but semi finalists -I think no one expected us to be that competitive in our second season so it's good.
VW: You mentioned the travel was tough in the finals because you had to go back to Australia for both games. There was a little bit of uncertainty around why the Hunters didn't get to host a finals game - do you think that maybe played into it at all?
MM: Yeah I think it played a bit in our minds as well but we couldn't hold the finals back here because of the cost of facilities and everything else but next year we are prepared for all those things.
VW: With the season now at a close what have you learnt, what has the team learnt this season? What are some of the lessons you take out of season number two for the Hunters?
MM: Consistency in our teams and the players performances that we can be proud of. We played really good, terrific games this year and we hope to retain most of our players for 2016.
VW: You guys are going to be [based] in Port Moresby next season as well so bigger crowds, more income - that must be quite an exciting prospect? You obviously played a few games at Sir John Guise Stadium this season and you were a part of the nines team at the Pacific Games [so it must be] something to look forward to?
MM: Yeah that's right. We still have all our gears back in Kokopo. We are here now, we are packing up so all the players leave tomorrow and that's where we send the players away to see their families, spend time with them for six weeks before we get back in for off-season [training camps] but it would be good if we confirm [the details] for next year quickly so we can all prepare and set up all our training gear and equipment and stuff back in Moresby.
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