By JACK AMI
SOUTH Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett is confident that Papua New Guinea speedster Edene Gebbie can crack the National Rugby League (NRL) in the upcoming season, says Kumuls coach Michael Marum.
The 24-year-old signed a two-year deal with South Sydney in July after enjoying a breakout season with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the Intrust Super Cup last year.
Marum met the former Great Britain coach during the Lions’ tour of PNG in November and the Kumuls boss said the pair had positive discussions about Bennett’s plans for Gebbie.
Former SP Hunters coach Marum said Bennett had spoken highly of Gebbie and that he would give the utility back every chance of cracking the first grade side in the upcoming season.
“Coming from a great coach like Bennett, it’s an excellent opportunity for Gebbie to prove that he can make it the NRL,” he said.
“It certainly won’t be easy trying to earn a regular spot in a club that plays in the toughest rugby league competition in the world. There are other talented players in the squad who will also be vying for spots.
“But Gebbie has the ability and skills to make it happen. He just needs to be committed and most importantly, back himself.
“Gebbie has come a long way and I enjoy coaching him at the international level. He has a lot of speed.
“He topped a lot of statistics in the Intrust Super Cup last season and that says a lot about his desire to be the best player he can be on the biggest stage.”
Marum said he was monitoring the players ahead of next year’s Rugby League World Cup in England.
Meanwhile, Gebbie has been named in the Rabbitohs’ 18-man squad for the two-day NRL Nines, which starts today in Perth, Australia.
PNG youngster Xavier Coates was omitted from the Brisbane Broncos squad after he experienced leg muscle tightness on Tuesday.
The other Papua New Guineans who have been named for the HBF Park tournament are Edwin Ipape (Manly Sea Eagles), Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm), Lachlan Lam (Sydney Roosters) and Daniel Russell (North Queensland Cowboys).
By JACK AMI