THE PNGRFL yesterday announced a 30-man squad for the Four Nations starting on Oct 26.
The team bore few surprises with selectors maintaining the PM’s XIII team and adding a further 10 players.
Paul Aiton retains the captaincy for the national side with Rodney Pora his deputy.
As expected, the UK pairing of centre Menzie Yere and prop Makali Aizue have been included which will bolster a team thin on recognised names.
Crusaders forward Jason Chan could earn a late call-up if he can recover from a groin injury.
The inclusion of former Pukpuk No.8 Alex Haija is sure to raise eyebrows but PNGRFL interim committee member Gary Juffa assured fans that all players had been picked on form.
“Alex has been playing in the Queensland Cup for the last two months, so we’re happy with his form,” Juffa said.
bemobile Cup players David Loko (Mioks) and Thompson Teteh (Lahanis) have been rewarded for strong seasons while zone five-eighth Mark Mexico was also included.
The squad immediately goes into camp under coach Stanley Gene and British Super League trainer Bill Mullinson before departing for Ipswich, Queensland, on Oct 9 for an intense preparation which will include a warm up match against a local side.
From there, a 24-man Four Nations team will be finalised before the side heads to Sydney on Oct 17 and play Australia on Oct 26.
The 30-man Kumuls train-on squad: Aiton (c), Pora (vc), Ryan Tongia, Michael Mark, Larsen Marabe, Jessie Joe Parker, Elijah Riyong, Dion Aiye, Benjamin John, George Moni, Rod Griffin, Sigfred Gande, Glen Nami, Charlie Wabo, Joseph Pombo, Nixon Kolo, Pidi Togap, Johnson Kuike, Desmond Mok, Andrew Sam, David Loko, Joe Bond, Mark Mexico, Thompson Teteh, Aizue, Yere, Jack Cooper, Francis Ray, Richard Kambo and Haija.