The National, Monday October 14th, 2013
THE Kumuls leave for the United Kingdom today.
The side, guided by Queensland greats Adrian Lam and Mal Meninga, enter the Rugby League World Cup with less than stellar form after a patchy trial match on September 22 followed by a 50-10 towelling at the hands of the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII a week later in Kokopo.
The performances have seen the team, particularly the management, criticised by individuals in the rugby league fraternity – even Tari-Pori MP James Marape was vocal.
But a week in camp in Port Moresby that has included all overseas-based players bar Jason Chan and Menzie Yere, who will join the side in England, will put some confidence and belief back into the team.
Papua New Guinea are scheduled to play Scotland in a warm-up fixture on October 19.
The match against Scotland will be a good opportunity for PNG to acclimatise to the English conditions. The Scots have a quality side that boasts National Rugby League talent like Peter Wallace (Penrith Panthers), Luke Douglas (Gold Coast Titans) and Kane Linnett (North Queensland Cowboys) plus a host of Super League players.
Coach Lam is expected to use his best 17 for this match which will mean Neville Costigan, James Segeyaro, David Mead, Ray Thompson, Chan and Yere will play.
The Kumuls play their first World Cup match eight days later on Sunday October 27 against France at Craven Park Stadium in Hull.
The advantage of playing Scotland is that they will provide the Kumuls with a similar challenge to the French, who are ranked fourth by the International Rugby League Federation.
PNG are ranked sixth while Scotland is 11th.