Papua New Guinea duo benefitting from Dolphins’ NRL pre-season thanks to PNG Hunters partnership

Ben Olawumi
Judah Rimbu Papua New Guinea Dolphins Alamy

Judah Rimbu is one of two Papua New Guinea internationals training with the Dolphins in pre-season - Alamy

Papua New Guinea internationals Judah Rimbu & Epel Kapinias are completing pre-season alongside the Dolphins as the NRL outfit’s development agreement with Queensland Cup side PNG Hunters continues.

With seven international caps between them, the duo impressed in the inaugural Pacific Championships last autumn as the Kumuls lifted the Pacific Bowl, and have been rewarded with this opportunity.

Via the partnership with the Hunters, the Dolphins aim to help more PNG natives to achieve permanent NRL moves.

Half-back Rimbu has already enjoyed a pre-season with the Dolphins, with this the first chance for prop Kapinias to shine.

Papua New Guinea duo benefitting from Dolphins’ NRL pre-season thanks to PNG Hunters partnership

Dolphins chief and ex-England boss Wayne Bennett told their club website: “I’m extremely pleased to be able to offer this opportunity again to the Hunters players.

“I know how important it is for not just them personally, but for PNG rugby league itself. I look forward to seeing them train with us again.”

Rimbu & Kapinias played their part in a 10th-place finish for the Hunters in the Queensland Cup in 2023, winning nine and drawing one of their 20 games.

The PNG club’s CEO, Scott Barker, referenced new Warrington Wolves recruit Rodrick Tai as he commented on the opportunities being handed out by the Dolphins.

Mount Hagen-born Tai, 24, also benefitted from the connection between the Hunters and the Dolphins, and this year gets a chance to shine in Super League.

Hunters chief Barker added: “I am genuinely pleased to continue our strategic pathway partnership with the Dolphins’ NRL franchise.

“This platform once again allows our players to demonstrate their talents within an NRL system, playing a crucial role in the broader PNG rugby league eco-system.

“We witnessed the direct benefits last year when former Hunters’ centre Rodrick Tai received multiple offers after emerging from this pathway.”

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