SP Hunters front-rower Kapinias to undergo surgery

Tuesday, 6 February 2024, 2:59 pm

Epel Kapinias, SP Hunters front-rower [Supplied: NRL Dolphins]

SP PNG Hunters towering front-rower Epel Kapinias underwent surgery today in Brisbane, Australia to determine the extent of his injury.

The rampaging forward succumbed to a knee injury while in a training session with the Dolphins NRL last week and is likely to miss the entire 2024 season.

Hunters chief executive officer Scott Barker said Epel has been taken care of by professional medical staff and further information of his surgery will be provided in due course.

“I’am well aware of everything that’s happening as I am in constant contact with both the Dolphins NRL staff and our two players who are training there currently,” Barker said.

“Epel is being managed by the extremely professional Dolphins NRL medical and performance staff.

“We will put out further updates as correct information comes to hand post Epel seeing specialists in Brisbane.

“Epel is covered by a private insurance so his medicals will be covered. We’re not sure of the extent of his injury but we will know after the surgery.”

The dynamic ball runner portrayed an inspiring performance in 2023 and was one of the leading forwards in the Hunters pack.

His efforts were rewarded with a Kumuls call-up towards the end of the year for Justin Holbrook’s side in the Pacific Bowl Championships.

The 25-year-old East New Britain ladd was destructive throughout the three tests played against Cook Islands Aitu and the Fiji Batis (2 tests), gaining huge metres and scoring three tries across the three games.

With a masterclass performance, he was determined for a big season in the Hostplus Cup but the injury copped has shattered his hopes for a promising year.

“He will definitely be a big loss for us given his form last year and for the Kumuls,” Barker added

“But we are confident in the young guys we have in the squad that they will step up and do a great job for us this season.”

Kapinias and rake Judah Rimbu are in a preseason stint with the Wayne Bennett coached side as part of the Hunters/Dolphins partnership.