By ISAAC LIRI
COACHING obviously plays a major role in the success of any sporting team.
After taking over the duties from current Australian Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga as head coach of the PNG Kumuls last year, 44-year-old Michael Marum remains undefeated as coach.
Marum oversaw the Kumuls to a 24-22 victory over Fiji in the Pacific test last year, and orchestrated PNG’s 32-22 victory over the Cook Islands early this year and is responsible for mentoring his players to claim an historical 50-6 triumph over Wales.
Some top level coaches such as Brisbane Broncos and England coach Wayne Bennett and even 2017 NRL premiership winning coach Craig Bellamy of the Melbourne Storm are known as masters in that department, but the Kumul-cum-coach Marum is considered a success story having served a long and useful apprenticeship starting in 2007 under Bob Bennett and he would go on to serve under Adrian Lam and Mal Meninga before finally being elevated to the top job in 2016.
On Sunday, Marum faces his toughest test yet against a gritty and experienced Ireland side coming off a 36-12 upset of Italy in Cairns last weekend.
Wolfhounds coach Mark Aston is aware Marum’s record at test level and said a win would be special.
“It’s outstanding for Michael, I met him for the first time during the launch of the World Cup.It’s been years since I first talked to him when he was trying to get Menzie Yere over to Sheffield Eagles, so it was great to put a face to a voice,” Aston said.
“He’s done a fantastic job and I know that he’s very passionate and serious about rugby league and the country.”
Aston was also aware of Marum’s success in coaching the PNG Hunters to win the Queensland Cup for the first time this year in only their fourth season in the Australian second tier competition.
With all that research done from the coaching perspective, Aston would want nothing else but to be the first coach to end Marum’s undefeated run.
By ISAAC LIRI