By HUXLEY LOVAI
THE PNG LNG Kumuls left for Melbourne yesterday ahead of their Rugby League World Cup quarterfinal showdown against England on Sunday.
The Kumuls were in good spirits as they arrived at the airport a day after their 64-0 thumping of the US Hawks.
The players are looking forward to their toughest challenge yet in their World Cup campaign against England.
There is an injury cloud over dynamic winger Gary Lo, who came off the field early in the second half with an injured ankle.
Having played the last two seasons in England Lo and fellow Europe-based Paul Aiton are the two players who will be used to the English style.
Kumuls coaching staffer John Wilshere, pictured, speaking on behalf of head coach Michael Marum told the media that the team would have a light week in training once they arrived in the Victorian capital.
“With Gary Lo, he did pick up an injury to his left ankle,” Wilshere said. “It takes time for those types on injuries to heal. We have the benefit of spending the week in Melbourne. Once we arrive we will make our assessments tomorrow.
“We ideally like to get down there by Wednesday, that’s the way the world cup organisers want it.”
“Depending on how Gary’s ankle pulls up, he doesn’t have to get involved too much in training.
“The physio will monitor his progress and hopefully he will be right for the game.”
Reflecting on last Sundays historic win, which was the biggest winning margin for the Kumuls in a world cup match, Wilshere said team morale was high.
“The boys enjoyed the win, and celebrated it. We’ve had a lot of support from the home crowd over the past three games and we’re thankful and grateful for that.”
For the quarterfinal against England, the Kumuls will be focused on the cutting down on the handling errors which crept into their final pool match.
“As long as the starting 13 that take the field go through their process and execute the way they want to play, and perform to the best of their abilities.
“That’s all we can ask the boys to do, up to now we and the country are extremely proud of their efforts.
“We have a big job ahead of us. We will assess all our injury concerns once we get to Melbourne,” Wilshere, who is a former Kumul fullback and captain, said.
“This will be a light week for us in training, but we also want to prepare well for the match.”
The side to play England will be named today.
By HUXLEY LOVAI