Hello Dolphins supporters, my name is Sam Anderson and I am the proud captain of the Village Motors Dolphins again in 2017.
When the Intrust Super Cup draw comes out every player in the competition looks for the same thing, when do we play the Hunters in PNG?
I thought I would keep a diary of our Round 7 trip to Papua New Guinea to give you all a player’s eye view of what is the toughest road trip in rugby league. The boys and I are determined to make sure this trip culminates in our first win against the PNG Hunters on their home soil following on from last year’s great win at Dolphin Oval thanks to a late try to Christian Hazard that snatched the 2 competition points. That day we opened the “Des Webb” stand to spectators for the first time. What a day and what a win! We are certain the Hunters will be looking for revenge.
It was roughly the same time of the year in 2016 when we travelled to Port Moresby to play the home team at the shiny new National Football Stadium. The stadium was purpose built for rugby league matches during the Pacific Games in 2015. It is without a doubt the best playing facility in the competition (not including Dolphin Stadium of course!!). Its impossible to imagine the old Lloyd Robson Oval which was rugby league HQ for so many years in PNG looking like it does now. The stadium is a larger version (18,000 seats) of what our Dolphin stadium will look like when complete. Its dressing rooms are first class and a little too comfortable for visiting teams. The sheds are air conditioned to 18 degrees. It can be a shock to the body when you head out to warm up in temperatures in the high 30’s with humidity soaring to 80% but it is all part of the experience of playing the game overseas and we are ready for anything. WE HAVE NO EXCUSES!
Everything about the trip is difficult, that’s why they are so hard to beat on home turf having lost only a handful of games since joining the competition in 2014. The planning stage starts pretty much as soon as the draw is released with Football Operations Manager Grant Cleal conducting information sessions, gathering passports and other documents required to begin the visa application process with the PNG Consulate General in Brisbane. All the planning is done, we are again well prepared physically and mentally and can’t wait to get there.
I will begin my travel diary at 7.00am on Easter Saturday when the team boards our Brian’s Bus Charters coach for the transfer to Brisbane International Airport and on to the Air Niugini check in desk for what we hope is the start of a winning trip to PNG..