By PETER PUSAL
PAPUA New Guinea Kumuls coach Michael Marum has retained the halves combination of Boas brothers Ase and Watson for Sunday’s rugby league World Cup quarterfinal against England.
Marum, who also coaches the pair at Queensland Cup champions SP PNG Hunters, said he was satisfied they had the form, the combination and more importantly the experience to lead the side in a finals match.
With this being only the second time for PNG to make the quarterfinals of a World Cup, Marum said had decided to put out his most experienced side.
“Ase had a full session of training today and he’s ready to go. We’re going for a bit more experience against England, who have named their strongest side for our quarterfinal, so we’re doing the same,” Marum said from Melbourne yesterday.
Marum said he was he was impressed with 19-year-old Lachlan Lam’s debut for PNG in their 64-0 demolition of the US Hawks in Port Moresby and left the door ajar by including the talented half in his 21-man squad for the weekend.
“Lam was really good for us last Sunday. He is a great half and he talks to his players and communicates well and that’s something that good to see. He directs play and has a good running game and he’s been included in the 21 so if anything happens he’ll definitely be given a chance.”
Lam, who plays for the Sydney Roosters U20s, is being looked at as a long term halfback much like his father and Kumul legend Adrian Lam and Marum said the youngster’s development at NRL level and with the Kumuls would see him become a great player.
The rest of the squad remains the same with Moses Meninga retaining his starting position in the front-row. Marum said with Wellington Albert still not ready to play, Meninga had been given a second game in the engine room alongside the hard-running Luke Page.
“Has been Wellington training but he’s not ready yet. If we get past England he’ll play in the semifinal.”
Winger Garry Lo was named on the wing but will have to pass a final fitness test at the end of the week with Stargroth Amean set to slot into the flank if the Castleford signing is ruled out.
Marum said he was wary of the English and the size and quality of their pack but he was confident his men would not be overawed by the task at hand.
“They’ve got some really good forwards like Sam Burgess and James Graham and they are a big side so we will need to be switched on to handle them.
“They’ve also got a very good backline with Gareth Widdop at fullback. He’s someone we have to watch. I just think we have to be really good everywhere on the day to have a chance against them.”
PNG Kumuls: 1. David Mead (c), 2. Justin Olam, 3. Kato Ottio, 4, Nene Macdonald, 5. Garry Lo, 6. Ase Boas, 7. Watson Boas, 8. Moses Meninga, 9. James Segeyaro, 10. Luke Page, 11. Rhyse Martin, 12. Willie Minoga, 13. Paul Aiton; Reserves: 14. Kurt Baptiste, 15. Stargroth Amean, 16. Stanton Albert, 17. Rod Griffin, 18. Enock Maki, 19. Wartovo Puara, 20. Thompson Teteh, 21. Lachlan Lam.
By PETER PUSAL