Papua New Guinea Hunters coach Matthew Church has named his final 26-man squad.

This means four players from the 30-man pre-season training squad will be released while the selected players will depart on Friday for the Gold Coast, where they will be based in the Runaway Bay.

This pre-season, the ninth of the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored club, has seen the highest number of player transitions since the Hunters 2014 Queensland Intrust Super Cup inception.

Twelve players, including veterans Ase Boas, Enoch Maki and Stanton Albert, from last season will not feature for the Hunters in the new season.

With the bulk of the players leaving and some not available, it has created an opportunity for the next crop of players to step up and compete for spots over the past 10 weeks of pre-season training.

Young forwards in Tony Worot, Francis Kembis, Nelson Yei, Sherwin Tanabi and Kitron Laka have been impressive.
The returning forwards have been forced to go up another notch and lead by example in training as the younger forwards continue to push them.

One-time pre-season squad members Casey Dickson and Valentine Culligan have been given another opportunity to make the side while experienced forward Junior Rop has been given a second chance to prove his worth.

As far as the backline is concerned, competition for spots have been healthy but hectic.

Judah Rimbu and Solomon Pokari are considered frontrunners for the halves spots following the exit of experienced pairing in Boas and Charlie Simon. However, reigning Digicel Cup premiership-winning halves Mark Tony and Jamie Mavoko have performed admirably all pre-season.