By TRAVERTZ MABONE
DESPITE a chequered lead-up to the annual Prime Minister’s XIII match, the PNG team under Stanley Gene will give their all against Australia on Sunday.
During a training session yesterday at the University of Papua New Guinea, new inclusions along with the core of last year’s Pacific Cup side underwent a vigorous show of unity and pride under the eyes of first time coach Gene.
But the Kumuls are playing for more than just Four Nations spots, like the 2008 World Cup they are playing for some respect and for the tournament’s heavyweights to take them seriously after a tumultous year for the PNGRFL.
Sunday’s match will be the first step in gauging our boys’ progress or lack of.
“We’ve got to be confident and positive about our game and maintaining such a mindset during the game should give us real chance on Sunday,” Gene said.
The former Kumul five-eighth said a lot would depend on halves combination of Dion Aye and Benjamin John and hooker and captain Paul Aiton.
“Benjamin and Dion are looking sharp in the halves and we’ll need their direction through out the game.
“Paul wears the Kumul jersey with a lot of pride and I’m sure he’ll lead the team confidently.”
Aiton, for his part, said the main thing would be to “play and look out for each other”.
“Even though we’ve had a late start (training), I’m pretty confident in the team and the new guys who bring in a lot of enthusiasm to the side and communication will be one of the vital parts of our game.”
Sunday’s starting 17 will remain unconfirmed until today or tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Australian PM’s XIII side led by Brisbane’s Corey Parker are scheduled to arrive today.