The National, Tuesday October 15th, 2013
SELF belief is the missing piece to the puzzle for a winning performance for Papua New Guinea Mal Meninga says.
PNG Rugby League national coaching director Meninga, 53, says a sturdier mental appraoch is the crucial facet of the Kumuls game that will unlock the door to a complete performance at the World Cup.
“I think our greatest battle is from an individual point of view, just the belief. Believing in their abilities and talents,” Meninga said yesterday at a press conference in Port Moresby before the team left for the United Kingdom.
“They’re very talented players and they just have to realise how good they are.
“Part of our challenge as individuals is to prepare really well and get the basics right.
“It’s something we have to be constantly addressing from day to day. it was an issue in Kokopo.
“Once we have this belief, it underpins everyhting else that we do.
“We’ve got the defensive qualities. We’ve got the strategies, the systems and the techniques to defend really well and that’s how you win footy games, through defence.
“It’s just our confidence and our belief that we can actually do it,” Meninga said when explaining the reason for the big loss (50-10) to Australia in Kokopo on September 22.
Meninga said before leaving that the side was fit and injury-free and he was excited about the side’s prospects in England saying this was the “best side” picked for the tournament.
Earlier Team Kumuls management made one change to the 23-man squad.
Hooker James Segeyaro withdrew from the World Cup party with a pectoral (chest) tear.
A source close to Team Kumuls said that Segeyaro was given the medical clearance by his doctor to play in the World Cup however his NRL club, Penrith Panthers, opted not to risk their star utility.
His spot was taken by Kokopo Gurias prop Joe Bruno who flew in from Kavieng, New Ireland, on Sunday.
Bruno had been playing in the Malagan Barbarian 7s when he received the call up on Sunday.
In other news, veteran Kumul rake Charlie Wabo has been allowed leave on compassionate grounds after his mother died last Friday in Port Moresby.
Wabo, 29, will join the squad in England next week before the first game against France on October 27 at Craven Park, Hull.