Monday, 6 February 2017

LOMAI JOINS LAE SNAX TIGERS - Former Hunter Finds Home in Tigers' Den



BY SYLVESTER GAWI - NBC SPORTS

Twenty-four year old Southern Highlander Timothy Lomai has been snatched by Lae SNAX Tigers as a notable inclusion in the team for the Melanesian Cup in Fiji this February 18th.

Lomai started off his rugby league career playing for the Comfort Brothers Rugby League Club in the Hohola Off-season rugby league competition back in 2012 when he was scouted by the Port Moresby Vipers. Since then he stayed with the Vipers before joining the PNG Hunters in 2014 when it was first launched.

The young Pangian was dropped from Michael Marum's final 29-squad on technical grounds that he (Lomai) failed his fitness test. However Lomai has welcomed the decision saying he has found a new home in the Tiger's den. He described the Tigers' camp as different from the Hunters, with a friendly environment where players can interact with the coach and management.

"I feel more comfortable here (Tigers camp), that's the spirit that I've been missing," Lomai told me over the phone from his room at Papuan Compound.

" I am going to keep my head down and work hard, and if I get recalled, it will be the Tigers' management who will make the decision for me."



Lomai has been named in Stanley Tepend's 18-men squad that will play Fiji's Nadi Aviators in the Melanesian Champions Cup challenge in Sigatoka, Fiji on February 18th.

"It's a great opportunity to take the challenge, being named in the starting line up at prop and I am aiming to give my best in the Melanesian cup. It will be a bonus to add to my rugby league profile."

Tigers Coach Stanley Tepend told NBC Sports that they have five of their key players to the Hunters this season, but are working tirelessly to get replacements in during the pre-season training. Lomai has been a notable inclusion who will replace Tigers' X-Factor David "Locomotion" Loko in the forwards. Lomai may not be available in the second row but has been slotted into the front row but will lead a much heavier front-line this season.

"I am confident with this new responsibility. I have played David (Loko) during the innaugural year of the Hunters and we played together in the second row. I am capable of giving my best up front,"Lomai told NBC Sports.

Lomai leads a young crop of Tigers' train on squad who are vying for their first semi professional debut with the Morobean franchise. Among the players are former Hela Wigman Wesa Tenza who was also named in the extended bench for the Melanesian Cup.

" I have happily settled in the Tigers camp and had been leading the young players in the training. It's all about motivation and helping younger players to define their roles in the team. It's such a great opportunity," Lomai says when describing the Tigers franchise as the most professional team in PNG rugby.

Meanwhile other notable inclusions in the Tigers train on squad camp for 2017 are former Mendi Muruks player Toari Kenake and other rugby union prospects from Kimbe and Lae which includeds current PNG Turagus Morobe Hammerheads Jason Pitbang.


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