9s sides yet to be named

Sports

By JACK AMI
THE Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League is expected to make an announcement soon on the PNG men’s and women’s nines teams to the Pacific Games in July.
PNG men’s team are the defending champions while this is the first time for the women’s competition to be included in Apia, Samoa.
PNGRFL chairman Sandis Tsaka said squads, coaches and technical officials had yet to be confirmed but added that the team would comprise players from its four confederations.
“We haven’t finalised the squads and staff but expect to do so soon,” Tsaka said.
Tsaka said the PNGRFL was working to follow the PNG Olympic Committee Justification Committee guidelines set in order to be approved to be part of Team PNG.
He said the technical requirements and screening of players and officials would be done in the coming weeks.
Tsaka watched the Port Moresby Rugby League MRDC 9s final on Sunday and said he was impressed with the quality on display, especially from champions Siporo Magpies from the Aroma Coast in Abau, Central.
Players like former Gulf Isou hooker Ross Ravu started his rugby league career in the shorter version under nines coach Colin Geno before graduating to the Digicel Cup last season.
Another player who caught the attention was Mega Pali who showed flair and speed across the tournament.
Geno coached the men’s national 9s team last year and is expected to retain the position for the Pacific Games. PNG Kumuls and SP PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum said the bulk of the men’s team would comprise Hunters players as was the case four years ago.
“We’ll pick our best side for the Pacific Games and that means Hunters players plus other talent from the confederations,” Marum said. He added that players coming in from outside the Hunters system would undergo a rigorous a high performance programme leading to the Pacific Games.

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