All hands on deck

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The National, Thursday October 31st, 2013

 KUMUL hooker Paul Aiton has cause to celebrate.

An international rugby league disciplinary tribunal on Tuesday night cleared the 28-year-old to play in Papua New Guinea’s crucial World Cup Group B game against Samoa at Craven Park, Hull, on Monday (Tuesday morning PNG time).

Aiton successfully appealed the one-match suspension handed down by an international match review panel for a careless high tackle on Morgan Escare of France in last Sunday’s group opener.

The tribunal lifted the suspension but imposed a formal caution, which will remain on the player’s disciplinary record for the duration of the tournament. This means coach Adrian Lam has a full squad to pick from after all players were passed fit for selection yesterday.

Team general manager Matthew Natusch said the mood was upbeat however the players had not forgotten about their loss to France.

“The morale is good so far but that doesn’t we’ve gotten over the loss to France. The players will be turning that experience into a positive by using it as motivation against Samoa,” Natusch said.

“Everyone is fit and ready. The injured players from the weekend are all fine and available for selection.”

Aiton, who suffered a corked right thigh, Richard Kambo (sore neck), Nene McDonald (hyper extension of the elbow) and Dion Aiye (corked knee) have been passed fit by team management.

Lam said changes would be made to the side as the Kumuls hopes of making the next stage rest entirely on beating Samoa. 

Lam said he would name his 17-man side on Friday.