PNG players can play in NRL: Mead

Sports

THE year 2017 will be remembered for many reasons in rugby league land — Captain Cam, Cut-throat Kevvie, Courageous Cowboys, Confounding Cronk — but none may be as good for the soul as the re-emergence of PNG.
Both at a local level with their premiership triumph in Queensland’s Intrust Super Cup competition and the stunning scenes witnessed at Port Moresby’s Oil Search National Football Stadium last Saturday, the SP Hunters and PNG LNG Kumuls combined have provided some of the feel good stories of 2017.
In their past two World Cup appearances the Kumuls scored a combined 46 points and lost all six games they played; last Saturday they smashed Wales 50-6 and now face the gritty Irish in what will be the defining match of Pool C.
Only one team will emerge from Pool C to advance to the quarterfinals where they will likely face England in Melbourne and a win over Ireland would almost certainly ensure that team is PNG.
Prior to the tournament starting Kumuls captain David Mead was optimistic about his side’s chances of progressing even further through the knockout stages should they win their three pool games in Port Moresby and Saturday’s demolition of the Welsh will only have added to that belief.
Only six players who disposed of Wales last weekend are currently aligned with NRL clubs and two of those are yet to make their first grade debuts.
Mead, Nene Macdonald, Kurt Baptiste and James Segeyaro are the only members of the squad to have played NRL this year but with a strong representation of Hunters players within the Kumuls, Mead has no doubt there are more who could handle the step up in class.
“I’ve got no doubt that there at least a dozen players in that Hunters team who are capable of playing NRL,” Mead said.
“Moses (Meninga) was great for the Hunters. The other guy I’m pretty excited for is Nixon Put.
“There are a couple of guys who played really well for the Hunters — Enoch Maki is another — so I’m looking forward to seeing those guys run out and run hard and put some big hits on and play smart as well.” – NRL.com

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