By MELTON PAIS
PAPUA New Guinea Residents Under-23s assistance coach Glen Nami commended the PNG Rugby Football League for creating a pathway for the local Digicel Cup players to be exposed to representative football.
Speaking at a press conference this week, Nami said representative fixtures like the PNG Residents U23s against the New South Wales Country U23s would help build the confidence in local players.
“I hope this is the start of more games to come and we are looking forward Sunday’s game,” Nami said.
“This concept will be successful because it will basically involve the local players who are registered in the Digicel Cup clubs as well National Confederation players.”
Nami thanked PNGRFL chairman Sandis Tsaka and his committee for giving head coach Stanley Tepend and himself the opportunity to coach the national U23s.
“You know, every rugby league team that comes from Australia is always going to be good so we are ready of this match and that’s the way we’re approaching it,” he said.
“We started camp last Thursday and our preparations have been good.
“The boys have come together and there’s excitement becuase this the first time there has been a residents team.”
Nami, a former Kumul and Digicel Cup player, said he was excited to see how the Digicel Cup players would fare in representative match.
“We have some great playmakers in Nicky Hasu, Mark Tony and Edwin Ipape so I can’t wait to see how they’ll lead this side.
Nami said they would start Hasu off the bench and use Tony and Ipape with the intial focus on defence before looking to open up the game.
“We know our boys can score but the main area that we want to get right is on defence,” Nami added.
Nami added that if Kumuls coach Michael Marum was looking for players to draft into his wider squad for the upcoming two-match series against the England Knights then he did not have to look futher than the PNG U23s.
“The boys coming through this system have gone through all the protocols and processes of the PNG NRLC and the PNGRFL and are more than ready to perform.”
“Some players are straight from Digicel Cup but players likes Eddie Dafa and Muka Peter Kulu were once part of the Hunters squad so yeah, there is a possibility that they could be included in the Kumuls squad but it all depends on the coach and the selectors,” Nami said.
PNG Resident U23s: 1. Jah Hogan, 2. Eliakim Lukara, 3. Brandon Nima, 4. Stanford Talita, 5. Norman Brown, 6. Edwin Ipape (vc), 7. Mark Tony, 8. Kingston Paul, 9. Woods Kawage, 10. Joejoe Wallames, 11. Emmanual Waine, 12. Eddie Dafa (c), 13. Missach Welen; Interchange: 14. Nick Hasu, 15. Muka Peter Kalu, 16. Casey Dickson, 17. Levai Andrew, 18. Kennedy Ben. Coach: Stanley Tepend.
By MELTON PAIS