By ISAAC LIRI
THE Papua New Guinea LNG Kumuls World Cup squad get their first run as a team at this weekend’s Tri-Series in Suva, Fiji.
The hit-out, which is seen as a warm-up as well as a promotional event for the sport, will involve the Kumuls, Fiji Bati and World champions Australia.
The unique format will see all three teams play out 80 minutes of football at ANZ Stadium, Suva, where 120 minutes, or three halves of football, will be played.
Hunters skipper and Kumul vice-captain Ase Boas attended the launching of the Tri-Series with PNG Rugby Football League chief executive officer Reatau Rau recently.
Boas told the FM 100 Sports Breakfast show on Saturday that the Tri-Series was going to be a trial where PNG, Australia and Fiji will be the first rugby league countries to test the format.
“I went to Fiji for the launching with PNGRFL CEO Reatau Rau and we’ll be playing a new format where we play Fiji in the first 40 minutes and while Fiji gets a rest we will play Australia in the next 40 minutes and then we go have a rest and Fiji plays Australia in the last 40,” Boas said.
“So it’s like we are playing full 80 minutes but a different opponent every 40 minute.
“It’s a first of its kind format so they will be testing it out and if it works it might be an annual thing,” the 28-year-old said
The Kumuls started training on Saturday and will resume today and tomorrow before they travel to Fiji on Wednesday with a couple of overseas-based players including England-based Garry Lo and Paul Aiton, yet to join the camp.
Boas who just finished captaining the PNG Hunters to winning their maiden premiership in the Intrust Super Cup says the Tri-Series will be used as a lead for their World Cup games.
“We have another mission again with the PNG Kumuls in the Rugby League World Cup it’s something we need to go by it and we are representing the country again so we are going to put our bodies on the line again,” Boas said.
With the Kumuls squad comprising 10 Hunters players, Boas said he was confident combinations and familiarity would be a plus while the experience and quality the overseas-based players brought especially from the NRL would strengthen the team further.
The side then returns on Monday to prepare in earnst for their World Cup Pool C matches.
By ISAAC LIRI