QCup champs PNG hunting Penrith

Queensland Cup champions PNG Hunters will do their best to put celebrations on hold ahead of a clash with NSW Cup champions Penrith before this Sunday’s NRL grand final.

The Hunters’ season is now a week longer thanks to a maiden premiership at Suncorp Stadium, a thrilling 12-10 last-minute defeat of Sunshine Coast on Sunday.

They will meet Penrith in Sunday’s State Championship after the Panthers beat Wyong 20-12 on Sunday night to be crowned NSW Cup champions.

The Hunters will be welcomed home as heroes on Monday, on what is being dubbed an unofficial holiday in Port Moresby.

“They’re special to everyone up there (in Papua New Guinea) and there will be a big reception,” coach Michael Marum said.

“I’m just proud of the effort we put in; we’ll celebrate it but we’ve got another game to prepare for now.”

Marum also revealed he had been in discussions with some players about potential NRL contracts next season, but that they would also be put on hold until after Sunday’s Sydney finale.

Marum’s men cantered to the minor premiership but initially struggled on the big stage in front of the 11,260-strong crowd, falling behind 10-0 after seven minutes.

He hopes that experience will prepare them better for the atmosphere of NRL grand final day this Sunday.

“The team’s first ever 10 minutes playing at Suncorp, on that big occasion, we couldn’t handle ourselves,” the coach said.

“But our team defence was great and I’m excited that we’ll go there (to Sydney) and represent the state and our country.”

Try-scorer Watson Boas will be under a cloud for the clash, the half-back suffering a concussion late in the contest and being sent to hospital following the game.

Sunshine Coast captain Dane Hogan was also concussed earlier in the second half.

Visibly struggling after a brutal head clash with a teammate, Hogan stayed on the field and even made tackles before finally being taken from the ground several minutes later.

QRL major competitions manager David Maiden told News Corp Australia that it was clear Hogan should have been taken straight off the field by the team’s medical staff.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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