By ISAAC LIRI
KUMULS coach Michael Marum says his side are taking the match against the US Hawks on Sunday seriously despite leaving out several key players.
“We haven’t made the quarterfinals yet and we still need to win our final group game to get there,” Marum said.
“We’re not running a second string team just because it’s the US. This is our best side at the moment.
“We know we have to win but we’ve made some changes to rest players like Ase Boas who are struggling with injury.”
Marum said changes could still be made after the captain’s run tomorrow.
“I know Watson (Boas) and Lachlan (Lam) are a very young halves combination for a test match,” Marum said.
“But both are very talented and if Ase is not good enough to play on Sunday then these are the two who will lead us around the field. The challenge is on them and the other new guys to step up.”
Marum said if Ase was alright to play he would replace brother Watson in the halves.
Veteran forward Rod Griffin, pictured, is likely to get a run against the Hawks but a decision will not be made until tomorrow.
Marum said Griffin, 30, was eager to play in front of the Kumuls fans in what is likely his last game for PNG at home.
“Rod has been running well in training and he spoke of wanting to play here at home in front of our PNG fans so if we can get some minutes out of him, it will be great to see him play,” Marum said.
“He wants to play and it will probably be his last time here in Port Moresby with Paul Aiton so they’re both looking to have a memorable game.”
The 19-year old Lam said he was looking forward to playing his first test for PNG.
“It’s pretty special. Dad (Adrian Lam) has obviously got a proud history with the Kumuls but to play myself is a great feeling,” Lam said.
“I’ve been part of some big games but not as big as this and obviously playing that same style of footy, I’ll be confident that I can get the job done and Michael (Marum) and the staff had some encouraging words for me as well and all the boys are supporting me.
“Dad has encouraged me just to turn up, tune in and enjoy the moment and it’s my first time so I have to make it a memorable one. “Dad’ll be watching our game. He’ll be in Sydney with the rest of my family tunning in so that’ll be special.”
PNG: 1. David Mead (c), 2. Justin Olam, 3. Kato Ottio, 4. Nene Macdonald, 5. Garry Lo, 6. Lachlan Lam, 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. Nixon Put, 17. Thompson Teteh, 18. Rod Griffin, 19. Wartovo Puara Jr, 20. Enock Maki, 21. Ase Boas.
USA: 1. Corey Makelim, 2. Ryan Burroughs, 3. Junior Vaivai, 4. Jonathan Alley, 5. Bureta Faraimo, 6. Kristian Freed, 7. Tui Samoa, 8. Eddy Pettybourne, 9. David Marando, 10. Mark Offerdahl (c), 11. Danny Howard, 12. Joe Eichner, 13. Nicholas Newlin; Reserves: 14. Sam Tochterman-Talbott, 15. Fotukava Malu, 16. Martwain Johnston, 17. Gabriel Farley, 18. Steve Howard, 19. Andrew Kneisley, 20. David Ulch, 21. Joshua Rice.
Fixtures: Fri, Nov 10 – Fiji v Italy (6.30pm); Sat, Nov 11 – New Zealand v Tonga (2pm), Scotland v Samoa (4pm), Australia v Lebanon (7pm); Sun, Nov 12 – PNG v USA (3pm), Ireland v Wales (5.30pm), England v France (8pm).
By ISAAC LIRI