By JACK AMI
PAPUA New Guinea Rugby Football League chairman Sandis Tsaka has declared the 2017 World Cup squad as the best Kumuls team yet and they should make the semifinals.
Tsaka said during the announcement of the PNG LNG Kumuls squad in Port Moresby that the league was fortunate to have many world class players and talented individuals in the group.
“This is the team that the national selectors and coach Michael Marum have selected and we are confident that the team will make the semifinals,” Tsaka said.
“We are confident that our team will beat Wales, Ireland and USA in the pool stage in Port Moresby and advance to the quarterfinals and then on to the semifinals.
“There’s a lot of depth in the team and the leadership is very good. We have David Mead and Ase Boas as captain as vice-captain while the squad also includes former captains in Paul Aiton and Rod Griffin as well so we don’t lack in leaders,” he said.
“We’re also happy to welcome back James Segeyaro (Cronulla Sharks) and Garry Lo (Sheffield Eagles) and I think their presence makes this a very competitive side.
“This will be a better prepared team than the previous years and we have the confidence and faith in coach Michael Marum and the 23 players.”
Tsaka said the advantage about the selections was that they had picked 10 players from one side, the PNG Hunters, and the natural combinations were already there and would boost the team.
Tsaka said coach Marum was aware that the other teams had a good number of NRL and Super League talent he insisted that the Kumuls would have the home ground advantage in the opening three fixtures and if they won those games that momentum would propel them to a strong showing against the Pool A runners-up who would most likely be England.
“This is the best possible 23-man squad we could assemble and we’re confident and have the faith in them to go past the mark. And who knows we might end up in the big one,” Tsaka said. Fixtures: Pool C – PNG v Wales (Oct 28), PNG v Ireland (Nov 5), PNG v USA (Nov 12).
By JACK AMI