PAPUA New Guinea Kumuls back Edene Gebbie has spoken highly of the team picked for the World Cup Nines, despite missing skipper James Segeyaro and playmaker Lachlan Lam.
Segeyaro, who is without a club for next year after playing out a season-long deal with the Brisbane Broncos, has been suspended by Australia’s premier rugby league competition after testing positive for a banned substance.
The 28-year-old former Cowboys, Panthers, Rhino and Sharks rake was last week found to have taken di-hydroxy LGD-4033, which is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the NRL’s Anti-Doping Policy.
Di-hydroxy LGD-4033, commonly known as Ligandrol, is a substance said to repair and build muscles.
Sydney Rooster Lam, who made his Kumuls debut at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, was initially named in coach Michael Marum’s 16-man squad but the 21-year-old had withdrawn due to personal commitments.
However, despite missing the services of the pair, Rabbitohs-bound Gebbie believes their replacements in SP Hunters skipper Moses Meninga and United Kindom-based Barrow Raiders rake Wartovo Puara will get the job done at the Oct 18-19 tournament in Sydney, Australia.
“It’s a pity that James and Lachlan are missing from the team,” Intrust Super Cup fullback-of-the-year Gebbie told The National on Tuesday.
“They bring so much to the side, given their NRL experience.
“But having said that, we’re happy with the players we have.
“There is an abundance of speed and agility in the pack.
“We need to play smart against Australia, New Zealand and the United States in our pool.”
When asked about his inclusion in the side, Wynnum Manly speed merchant Gebbie said he was proud to represent his country.
“I’m glad to be back home playing with the boys. We have a handful of local talent and seven Australian-based players — Justin (Olam), Jedidiah (Simbiken), Nixon (Putt), Edwin (Ipape), Daniel (Russell), Kyle (Laybutt), Bernard (Lewis) and myself — which is a plus for the side.
“We have played together so we’re familiar with how we play.
“But we can’t be complacent, we need train hard to get our attack and defence in good shape.
“We have to do the simple things right and execute well.
“Nines is all about speed and creating space.
“If we can keep that in mind and execute our game plan, I think we’ll be able to produce some positive results.”