Eliab in demand

Normal, Sports

The National, Tuesday 12th February, 2013

BIG-TIME NRL clubs Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights and the Brisbane Broncos are eyeing several Residents XIII players.
The lure of the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) clubs has the opportunity to change the lives of ‘starved’ home-grown players hungry for recognition.

Their eye-catching performance during the Cabramatta 9s that saw them win the cup and then given a solid ‘work-over’ by NRL club South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday has been an opportune time to market PNG’s home-grown players.
Residents XIII assistant team manager Kera Ngaffin yesterday confirmed on arrival at the airport that he was approached by talent scouts from the Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights and the Brisbane Broncos.
 “I was approached by Melbourne Storm official Paul Dunn who enquired about the services of half-back Israel Eliab and full-back Josiah Abavu,” Ngaffin said.
“While three others I believe could be on the Newcastle Knights shopping list.”
Dunn is a former Canterbury Bulldogs and Australian Kangaroos prop.
“It was hard not to notice the players showing off their natural ability during the Cabramatta 9s and then backing it up in the early stages of the game against the Rabbitohs,” he said.
The former Kumul enforcer said that while that was at least positive news, it was still difficult for Papua New Guinean players to play there because of Australian visa restrictions.
“Our sports minister did however indicate down in Sydney that he would try to push this agenda at his level,” Ngaffin said.
It is understood that Redcliffe-bound (Queensland Cup) Mark Mexico was approached by Brisbane Broncos scouts as well. 
On the first hit-out by the Residents XIII on the road to selection for the Kumuls World Cup campaign, Ngaffin bluntly said the team was physically not ready.
“The players have been given a five-week programme to seriously work on before the second camp next month,” he said.
“The players are not coming back for further training but to be tested on their individual strengths and capabilities.
 “If they don’t improve they get one warning and then if they still don’t show a marked improvement by the third camp then they will be shown the door,” he said.