Guriasto play with passion against Pride
RABAUL Gurias coach Michael Marum believes passion will underpin the visiting Papua New Guinea team's performance as much as skill when it takes on the Northern Pride at Barlow Park today.
The Gurias trained at Stan Williams Park yesterday to fine tune their preparation after jetting into the Far North on Thursday night.
Many of Marum's squad have never been out of PNG before, but the former Kumuls representative is confident they won't be overawed playing the Pride in Cairns.
"They're representing their country, the region they come from and also their families," he said.
"They want to do well for those reasons. They're all looking forward to the game.
"We've got 17 players who have never been out of the country before. But I think they'll do well. The team has been together the last six or seven weeks training to prepare for our local competition.
"At the same time, they've been together for some time, so they know how to play with each other."
Rugby league is the national sport of PNG, with NRL players idolised more than other overseas athletes.
Flights from Port Moresby to Cairns have been booked out for a month, which points to a big crowd tonight if the weather co-operates.
Marum hopes the Gurias will receive as much support as the Pride during the game.
"That would be very good for us," Marum said.
"We've got sponsors coming down from PNG to support us. No other team has done before what we're doing. It's the first club to bring players overseas and expose them at club level."
The Gurias game will be the Pride's second trial match of the pre-season after they beat the Cowboys under-20s 20-18 last Saturday night.
Captain Ty Williams will play his first game since suffering a serious knee injury in July last year and will start in the centres.
Main game kick-off is at 6.30pm. The Pride under-16s (2pm) and under-18s (3.30pm) will play curtain-raisers against the Townsville Stingers before Cairns District Rugby League side the Edmonton Storm take on the Gurias reserves at 5pm.
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All ready: The Gurias' Nelson Daplen trains at Stan Williams Park ahead of the clash with the Pride at Barlow Park tonight. Picture: MIKE WATT