By HUXLEY LOVAI
THE US Hawks coach Brian McDermott is on a mission to build a lasting legacy for the game in the United States.
This was evident with the naming of 10 players from the domestic competition in the US to play the Kumuls on Sunday.
The 47-year-old former Great Britain and England international was philosophical about his side’s performance and the experience gained from their world cup campaign.
This Sunday’s game against the PNG LNG Kumuls will be another stepping stone for the Hawks as they try to establish a presence on the international stage.
“Anybody who’s in coaching will tell you that the only way you will learn is by doing it,” McDermott said.
“There’s only so many white board and video sessions and conversations you can have before you actually got to say to the player’s right, get out there and see what it’s like to tackle a Fijian, an Italian and a Kumul.
“And that’s how you improve, I’m not sure what Sunday will bring but I know this group of players will be more experienced afterwards.”
The Hawks head into the match as underdogs, after suffering heavy defeats to Fiji (58-12) and Italy (46-0).
The Americans are not expected to trouble the Kumuls, but McDermott believes that his players can give a spirited and determined performance.
“On game day we have shown a lot of spirit and determination.
“The way my players have come through the tour in difficult circumstances has been really good, I’m very proud of them,” he said.
“But once again we have some players who in all honesty are not ready just yet for this level of competition. That’s not to say that you can’t play them, and we did play them and they got exposed to a degree.”
US captain Mark Offerdahl said the team needed to tighten up on defence, and stop leaking tries.
But the Hawks will have a tough day at the office with twin terrors on the Kumul wings Garry Lo and Justin Olam looking to add more tries to their tally.
Both men are damaging runnings and McDermott said the Hawks’ attitude on defence would be a telling factor as to how the game panned out.
He said their final match of the tournament would be one that they would want to do well in and learn from in the process.
“These players, most of whom play league in the States, will take back their experience of playing in a world cup and hopefully use it and build from there, sharing their experience and what they have learned with their clubs, this helps to build the game.”
By HUXLEY LOVAI