By PARKER TAMBUA
KUMULS coach Michael Marum has backed Townsville Blackhawks five-eighth Kyle Laybutt as a National Rugby League (NRL) level player and says the 25-year-old just needs a string of matches to establish himself.
Marum told The National yesterday that after coaching Laybutt in two tests, two invitational matches and at the Rugby League Nines World Cup, the PNG No.6 and former North Queensland Cowboy squad member had the talent and only needed an opportunity.
The former SP PNG Hunters coach said he was surprised that Laybutt was being overlooked by NRL clubs.
“Kyle is a very talented playmaker and given his talent,” Marum said.
“I still think he belongs in the NRL and I’m not sure why he is not there.
“I really hope he gets an NRL call up soon because it would be a waste of such talent.
“In my time coaching him (Laybutt) in the Kumuls, I noticed that he is a very good communicator and he directed plays quite well.
“The rest of the team understands him and there’s always a structure built around him.
“Another aspect of his game that I really like is that he is a very strong defender.
“He hardly missed tackles and sometimes puts in big hits.
“Such a talent deserves a second chance at first grade.”
Meanwhile, Marum said he would have a hard time when making Kumuls selections for the upcoming internationals especially in the halves. “We have Lachlan Lam, who is playing really well with Sydney Roosters, but I believe he is injured at the moment.
“Watson Boas is doing well as is Kyle (Laybutt) and other hookers and utilities.
“It would be a headache but at this stage it is too early.
“Let’s wait and see how they go in their respective competitions and we will assess from there.”
By PARKER TAMBUA