PNG brothers to bolster Hornets
THE Ipswich Logan Hornets will have an international flavour when they take on Gold Coast at Baxter Oval this weekend.
Papua New Guinea players Charles and Chris Amini have joined the club, with leg-spinning all-rounder Charles to make his debut in the top grade today.
Older brother Chris (30) will have to wait to overcome a knee injury to make his debut.
The pair has just finished a seven-week tour of South Australia and the Northern Territory with the PNG national side.
PNG cricket has recently gone professional, with 16 players contracted full-time.
The Amini brothers are among them but are not the only ones spending a season playing club cricket in Australia.
"We're trying to get the boys playing in Australian domestic competitions to give them exposure to higher standards," Chris said.
Three players are at the Gold Coast, four in Townsville, three in Melbourne and two in Canberra.
It is all part of the plan to get PNG onto the world stage.
Having just missed out on qualifying for next year's one-day World Cup they are targeting the 2019 edition in the UK.
Before then however they have a one-day clash with Hong Kong in Townsville in two weeks.
"We want to keep climbing the rankings," Chris said.
"We just missed the last T20 and 50 over world cups by one game."
They were beaten by Hong Kong on both occasions so have a point to prove in Townsville.
The Amini brothers already know something of Ipswich, having played under former PNG coach and Laidley product Andy Bichel.
When Bichel was there (2010-11) there were no turf pitches in PNG.
That has changed, with money coming into the game resulting in a vast improvement in facilities, though it is still sparse by Australian standards.
The brothers have been welcomed by the Hornets, though living at The Gap means a fair commute each day.
"I'm looking forward to playing with the young players at a young club and learning as much as possible," Chris said.
"The plan is to work as hard as I can. We've got to believe we can play at this level.
"It's very exciting.
"We get to play against some very good cricketers."
The Brothers are from a cricket-mad family and spent several years in Melbourne when Chris was in his teens.
So Australian cricket is not entirely foreign to them.
It was watching Shane Warne bowl that inspired Charles (22) to become a leg spinner, while seam bowling all-rounder Chris' hero growing up was Steve Waugh.
- Today and tomorrow (from 10am): Hornets v Gold Coast.
- First grade at Baxter Oval: M Weatherhead, D Lyons, B Potbury, N De Giusti, M Elkins, G Paulsen, D O'Keefe, J Smith, A Smith, D Parnell, C Armini.
- Second grade at Kerrydale: W Jones, J McCarron, S Edgar, B Dwyer, C Wardrop, R Lutter, T Rasmussen, D Clark, B Nickson, S Lutter, P Singh.
- Third grade v Norths at Ivor Marsden 4: N Fisher, J Gillett, M Miller, J Reisenleiter, U Boshoff, R Plummer, C Wendt, M Raine, L Willaton, M Quinn, I Trigar.