Exciting news as the big man Willie Minoga returns to his roots by linking back up with the PNG Hunters for 2017.
Willie Minoga has been our favourite rugby league player for the past three years. From our first glimpse at Dolphin Oval in 2014 to his appearance for Townsville last season, we have been banging the drum for Willie Minoga through that entire period. And now he’s returning home to one of our favourite sporting teams. Good times ahead we thinks.
The PNG Hunters were good in 2016, but not as good as they were in 2015 where they finished a close second on the end of season ladder, but were knocked out of the finals with consecutive losses. In 2016 they were unbeatable at home (until the finals) but were very beatable on the road. And subsequently finished only 4th.
So what was the difference?
It could be put down to the losses of several key players (including the returning Israel Eliab), or what appeared a change in style to a more standard (read boring) style of rugby league.
We say maybe, but it was mainly caused by the absence of the destructive human cannon ball that is Willie Minoga aka The Freight Train aka The Mack Truck aka The Raging Bull. Choose one, all apply.
Whilst few would, or dare, question his ambition with a move to Townsville for 2016, and he showed plenty of the qualities that made him a man to fear and won him the fan’s award for the 2014 Queensland Cup season, there’s going to plenty really looking forward to his return. Count us in for one amongst many.
Willie Minoga won The Gurgler’s 2015 Person of the Year, after proving to be a hit with our readers as well as being The Gurgler’s favourite rugby league player. And his return to the PNG Hunters for 2017 excites like nothing else in any sport. We can’t wait for the big man to be carving up opposition defences in 2017 as he leads the PNG Hunters to Queensland Cup glory.
But his arrival isn’t the only big move. The PNG Hunters welcome back Israel Eliab from the London Broncos, and one could argue that his loss was even more reason for the Hunters drop off in 2016. We won’t, we’re all about Willie Minoga.
But Eliab’s return could set up a mouth watering halves combination with livewire Watson Boas or his brother Ase.
Throw in the extremely talented Wellington brothers, and the mysterious local products and the PNG Hunters have enough firepower to go all thje way in 2017. At least the incoming outweighs the outgoings for next season.
PNG HUNTERS GAINS AND LOSSES from the QRL website.
Albert Wellington (Penrith Under 20), Stanton Albert (Penrith Under 20), Willie Minoga (Townsville Blackhawks), Israel Eliab (London Broncos), David Loko (Lae Snacks Tigers), Moses Meninga (Hagen Eagles), Wawa Paul (Enga Mioks), Junior Rop (Lae Snacks Tigers)
Noel Zeming (work commitments), Thompson Teteh (Redcliffe Dolphins), Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm NRL), Adam Korave (released), Warren Glare (released), Brandy Peter (released)
Get excited. Now.