The National, Tuesday 18th June 2013
THE national Under-16 and U18 rugby league teams annual tour to Brisbane, Australia, will not be a holiday, Brad Tassell warned yesterday.
“This is not a holiday for the players. It will be mentally and physically demanding,” Tassell said.
“We want to test them against the best, improve them as footballers and show them the mindset and attitude they need to adopt to reach the top.
The Papua New Guinea Rugby League Foundation (PNGRLF) national elite schoolboys’ sides will play four matches in eight days against quality opposition.
Players in the two teams started arriving in Port Moresby on Sunday for a three-day camp. They fly out tomorrow.
Tassell, the foundation chief executive officer, said the tour was vital for the development of the national game.
“It’s a critical part of the national programme where the players selected from the national championships last year will get to test themselves against some of the best young rugby league players in the state,” he said.
“One of the matches is against the club state champions and national finalists Redcliffe, while the other games are against top-level schoolboys. They will be exposed to the Queensland Origin side in camp through coach Mal Meninga, which we believe will have a positive effect on how they approach their football in the future.
“We believe we have the next batch of Team Kumul members in the squads and for PNG to be successful long-term it is vital that we have a strong junior development schoolboys programme.”
Elite development manager Shane Morris said he expected the players to more than hold their own on tour.
“We have some amazing talent in the squads. Some of the kids have been in the system now for over two years and are at a very advanced skill level, probably more advanced than the senior PNG players as they have been taught the basic skills at an early age and it now comes as second nature to them,” Morris said.
“We are not going over there to just compete – we expect results and we expect the players to perform.
“We have put a lot of time and effort into the programme and instil strong values and discipline into the players and what we need now is for them to put that training into action.”
U16 squad: Bill Paul, Wanipu Chris, Zogi Kakae, Wesley Mathies, Albert Iluba, Solomon Nick, Pepela Asineha, Michael Ragi, Wemin Mockley Bani, Jendrick Wamuki, Ruskin Kakae, Onames Raima, Maino Auri, Thomas Roka, Charles Dawai, Peter Obe, Joshua Sari, Anderson Benford, Isep Kalas, Taui Perry.
U18 squad: Gore Maima, Manu Issac, Mathias Kawage, Eliakim Lukara, Patrick Inapero, Solomon Nandepe, Gabby Leo, John Ragi Jnr, Lavax Ketauwo, Dickson Issac Amea, Bali Las, Himson Lavu, John Markham Jnr, Warren Glare, Brendan Nima, Josiah Jimmy, Nickson Borana, Kogen Tai, Ereman Ken, Silas Gahuna, Joseph Negio, Wellington Albert, Watson Repo.58