By MELTON PAIS
KUMULS coach Michael Marum says he was proud of his team’s effort at the rugby league World Cup on his return home yesterday.
Marum, who returned with the Papua New Guinea-based players as well as captain David Mead, said despite being knocked out in the quarterfinal by England, he thought 2017 had been a great year for rugby league in PNG.
Marum, at a press conference with Mead and PNGRFL chairman Sandis Tsaka, thanked fans, the government and sponsors for a memorable last seven weeks of their World Cup campaign.
“We’ve had a really good year for rugby league in the country. The SP Hunters won the Q-Cup and minor premiership,” Marum said.
“The Digicel Cup finished with no violence.
“We had a good Tri-Nations in Fiji and we made the quarterfinals of the World Cup so we’re happy with all that.
“We had three wins at home in the World Cup against some good teams and we tried hard in the quarterfinal against England but we were beaten by the better side on the day.
“That will give us something to buold on heading into next year.”
Marum said the preparation for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup was the best he had been involved with and he was proud of what the team had achieved.
Marum admitted he was disappointed with the game against England, which his side lost 36-6, but he focused on the challenges ahead next year as well as the next World Cup in 2021.
Meanwhile in positive news for the PNGRFL, chairman Tsaka announced that the PNG Hunters would play two preseason matches against NRL clubs the Brisbane Broncos and the New Zealand Warriors at the National Football Stadium in February.
“These are two big lead up games for us leading to the Queensland Rugby League Intrust Super Cup in 2018,” Tsaka said.
“I have discussed with Michael (Marum) and he’s aware of this and will draw up the training programme for the offseason next month to get the squad ready for matches against the Warriors and Broncos.
“This is another big for us to have our Hunters play NRL clubs. We are sure the NFS will be packed for these two matches as fans will want to see our boys take on the best of the NRL.”
Tsaka said the PNGRFL had invited the clubs to play a preseason fixture in Port Moresby against the Q-Cup champions and the Broncos and Warriors had accepted.
The Hunters played the Penrith Panthers at the beginning of 2016 in front of a sell-out NFS with the same numbers expected for the two matches.
By MELTON PAIS