The National, Thursday November 7th, 2013
KUMULS coach Adrian Lam will not resign.
Lam said he was in for the “long haul” and would see the Team Kumul five-year development programme out despite calls from the rugby league fraternity to end his tenure.
“I’m not going to quit. We’ve got a vision to develop rugby league in Papua New Guinea and that process is going to take some time,” he said.
“We’re only six months into this five-year Team Kumul programme. I’m absolutely committed to that,” Lam said from Hull yesterday.
On the Kumuls dismal form at the Rugby League World Cup, the 43-year-old, who has coached the team since 2007 (he was displaced by Stanley Gene in 2010), was frank in his assessment.
“Unfortunately, the truth is we’re just not up to the level we need to be to compete against these other sides.”
PNG were outmuscled and outplayed by Samoa 38-4 in Tuesday’s Group B clash and Lam summed up the weaknesses as ones that could not be fixed overnight.
“The boys were devastated by the result against Samoa.
“Everyone of those Samoa players is either in the NRL or the Super League.
“It’s hard to compete against that quality. Ultimately, we lacked the skill and the size. We just couldn’t cut it.
“That’s not to say the boys didn’t play their hearts out, but there is a big gap in quality from the Digicel Cup to the NRL and the Super League.”
Lam said the local rugby league personalities who had come out to criticise the team’s performances and call for his sacking were ignoring the reality of the situation.
“Rugby league (in PNG) has a long way to go yet but we’re on the right path.
“With the government’s support and inclusion in the Queensland Cup as well as the development of junior programmes we will achieve our goals.”
“Those individuals who are being critical don’t understand the situation. Rugby league was going nowhere for five years before the government stepped in. Now that we have something in place those criticising us are the ones who were part of the administration when it was heading nowhere.
“Rugby league is finally going forward. It has direction. It’s easy to point the finger when things don’t go according to plan but give it a couple of years and then judge us.”
Lam promised to make himself available to the media when the Kumuls returned from England.
“We’re going to have a press conference when we get back home and the press can ask all their questions then. I’m sure there are a lot of dissappointed fans in PNG but they have to undertsand that this group of players are working really hard to get the results. It’s not an ideal situation to be none from two but we are entering every game with the aim to win.”
Lam said the players were now facing a “test of character” in what will most likely be the end of their World Cup campaign but he refused to throw in the towel.
“Everyone needs to stand up and answer the critics with a strong and passionate performance against New Zealand. It’ll be a tough task obviously, but there are no forefone conclusions here, we’ll rally for that game with the knowledge that a win could get us to the quarter-finals.”
The Rabaul-born Lam admitted that even though he was based in Australia, the Team Kumul programme would see him in the country on a regualr basis.
“I probably won’t reside in Port Moresby but Mal (Meninga) and I will be up there a fair bit over the next few years.”