By HENRY MORABANG
THE US Tomahawks are eager to learn and gain as much experience from the 2017 Rugby League World Cup to help develop the game in America.
Globetrotting captain Mark Offerdahl made the comment on arrival with his squad in Port Moresby yesterday for the cross-over match against Papua New Guinea Kumuls on Sunday.
US are out of finals contention after losing their opening two matches of the tournament. The Yanks were soundly beaten in two matches against Fiji (58-12) and Italy (46-0) but are determined to finish on a positive note by playing their best football in their third and final fixture at the Oil Search National Football Stadium.
Offerdahl, who is off contract from the London Broncos this year, said his side were looking to keep improving and developing the code in the states.
The experienced 30-year-old, who is at his second World Cup and has played for clubs in France, Connecticut (US) and the London Broncos as well as a stint with the East Tigers in the Intrust Super Cup, said in spite of the losses the Tomahawks were always looking to get better and test themselves.
“This is first time for the US to play PNG and we want to keep the scoreline resepectable and give the fans an entertaining match,” offerdahl said.
Offerdhal, centre Bureta Faraimo and winger Ryan Burroughs are the only survivors from the Tomahawks team that made the quarterfinals of the 2013 World Cup.
Coach Brian McDermott said their main objective after failing to repeat their 2013 performance was to end their tournament well and to learn as much as they could to take back home.
The US have three players with NRL experience in Bureta Faraimo, Junior Vaivai and Eddy Pettybourne while Samuel Tochterman-Talbott (Tweeds Heads Seagulls) and Offerdhal (Super League) have played in quality competitions.
McDermott said they had seen the games that PNG had played so far and were expecting a physical encounter with the home side looking to generate some momentum heading into the quarterfinals.
The Tomahawks will depend heavily on props Offerdahl and Pettybourne to lead their charge while Faraimo and Vaivai are their most dangerous backs.
By HENRY MORABANG