By ISAAC LIRI
PAPUA New Guinea Prime Minister’s 13 coach Michael Marum Michael Marum says his selection of Gulf Isapea Bernard Goma to lead the side in tomorrow’s match against Australia sends a message to Digicel Cup players that he has faith in them.
Marum continued in that vein with Noel Joel’s selection ahead of Hunters star Wartovo Puara Jr as starting hooker.
“Bernard is our captain because we want this to be about Digicel Cup players as much as anyone else,” Marum said.
“We thought it was right to pick players from our main competition and the Hunters players will help him lead.”
The youngster from Chimbu had an impressive season aleading the Isapea and was drafted into the Hunters altough he did not play.
The 23-year old final year Political Science student from the University of Papua New Guinea was humbled with the opportunity to captain the side on his debut.
Hunters pair Ase Boas and Wartovo Puara Jr are expected to direct play and back up Goma, who has been named in the front-row.
Goma told The National he would take the position in his stride and focus on leading the side to the best of his ability.
“This is a big chance for me and I will not take anything lightly, I am happy with the responsibility,” Goma said.
With the leadership on his shoulders, Goma said the significant message to his players was to get the basics right.
“The message to the players is to get every little thing right. If we can do that, everything will flow.”
Despite his optimism, Goma was aware of the task in front of his side taking on the NRL’s best.
“They may be professionals and stars but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to play the game.
“We know we can play, and we will do our best for our country, they have a game plan and we have a game plan too.”
Goma said Marum and his staff, lead by trainers Solomon Kuluniasi and David Westley, had done a great job in getting the side ready in mind and in body.
Marum said it was a good opportunity for Goma as a young player, and he hoped the 23-year-old would use this experience and opportunity as a stepping stone.
“Bernard is someone with leadership qualities and giving him this opportunity is good for the team in general.”
“Israel Eliab once got this kind of opportunity as a young player to be captain and I think it’s good for us because our focus is on grooming young players to become leaders.”
By ISAAC LIRI