HeLLO there all our rugby league families in PNG and overseas. Welcome to the 17th edition of Coach’s Corner in your favourite rugby league newspaper – The National.
I am writing this article from Wabag. We arrived in Wapenamanda at around midday yesterday and to welcome us was Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas.
We were really humbled to see this great statesman at the airport with his assembly members and provincial government staff.
There were more than 1,000 people and with a singsing group and school students who put leis around the necks.
The drive to Wabag was another experience. People of all ages, workers and school students lined the roadsides to greet the team.
I look forward to the game on Saturday and can imagine what the crowd will be like. We are working on turning around that worst defeat last weekend to the Sunshine Coast Falcons. The team are focussing on doing well in Wabag and restoring some faith. We want to thank the people and supporters in Wabag and nearby areas for the experience so far.
The U18 Boys and U18 Girls Enga Yellow versus Enga Green from the Wabag schools competition will play curtain-raisers to the Hunters-Easts Tigers ‘Country Week’ game on Saturday. This will be their second match in the best of three series.
We had a training run yesterday afternoon and the turf was in very good condition. The new grandstand and dressing rooms facilities are impressive. We thank Sir Peter, his government members and staff for the investment into this newlook stadium.
This morning, the team visits Ikere and Wabag primary schools as well as the Wabag General Hospital.
In the afternoon, we will conduct clinics and have a training run. The captain’s run is at 3pm tomorrow afternoon. The game against the Easts Tigers kicks off at 2pm on Saturday.
Sunshine Coast Falcons and our PNG Kumuls flyer Justin Olam scored his first NRL try last week. He played in Cameron Smith’s 400th NRL game for the Melbourne Storm.
It is historical for PNG because Marcus Bai was Cameron Smith’s teammate in his first NRL game. Craig Bellamy has retained Justin in his starting line-up this weekend.
On behalf of our many Storm supporters, and PNG players and officials, I congratulate Cameron on achieving this 400 NRL games milestone.
The Coca-Cola National Schools Championships gets underway in Port Moresby next week.
The U14s kick off on Tuesday, the U16s on Wednesday, The U18 boys on Thursday with the U18 girls wrapping up the week-long event on Friday.
We look forward to seeing some of our future stars at the Oil Search National Football Stadium next week. Tuesday is a public holiday so let’s get out there and support them.
On Tuesday, we had our valued sponsors and partners have dinner with the Hunters.
We haven’t had a very good year but we thank you all for being with us during the good and bad times as well the highs and lows.
Your encouragement and support enables us to be better in times ahead.
The Digicel Cup has three more rounds to play. I watched the Mendi Muruks and Rabaul Gurias game in Kokopo last Sunday.
The error rates by both teams seem to be getting worse as we near the end. With the finals around the corner, let’s cut down on errors. This will improve the quality of play.
Until next week, please play hard, play safe and play by the rules. And support your team passionately but please don’t cause any trouble.
Cheers from beautiful Wabag,