THE emerging PNG Mosquitoes, playing for the second weekend in a row during the Cairns pre-season tournament, certainly proved that their 10-day camp was of immense benefit.
The Young Mosquitoes, led by former Essendon and and Brisbane Lion Mal Michael, won three from four, with a crushing win over South Cairns in their final hit out.
With a strong core of senior and junior players already under scholarship at South Queensland clubs, a new and younger Mosquito outfit will be seen in their fourth tilt at the International Cup as they endeavour to go back-to-back in 2011.
The PNG outfit, made up of six senior Mosquito members and a group of talented but raw youngsters all in their teens, improved rapidly over 10 days.
AFL Asia Pacific manager Andrew Cadzow said it was a learning experience for many of the players.
He said despite playing on green grass and a good set-up at Cazalys, they were used to playing on dirt pitches and cricket pitches so it was culturally very different for those younger boys.
“It’s a pretty young side, our best 20 players are still in Brisbane playing, so it was really good for the young boys to see how well they went.’’
Cadzow said PNG could become a regular presence in the AFL Cairns pre-season competition.
Cadzow would also like to see a full-strength PNG take on a Cairns representative side later this season.
The Mosquitoes played the first weekend of matches under the guidance of PNG and Brisbane Lions great, Michael.
Four members of the South Pacific Under 18 squad participated in the tour, with ruckman Clyde Pulah, strong midfielder Wingti Pena, and speedy wingmen Eddie Tagan and Norman Wellington all performing well.
Performing well at the recent Queensland junior state championships were PNG members John Ikupu (Country Kookaburras), Slim Collins and Naime Gordon (unfortunately injured) (Raiders) and Larry Nao and Greg Aki (Power). In July this year, they will line up with the South Pacific Squad at the Australian Under 16 championships, ensuring strong PNG representation.
Results: Game 1: PNG 4.4 (28) beat Port Douglas 7.7 (49) Game 2: PNG 5.5 (35) beat North Cairns 4.2 (26) Game 3: PNG 18.6 (114) beat Manunda Hawks 4.7 (31).
Game 4: (curtain-raiser to the grand final) PNG 15.10 (100) beat South Cairns 3.6 (24) .