The National, Wednesday June 18th, 2013
By PETER PUSAL
LAVAX Ketauwo, a 17-year-old five-eighth from Masi, Goroka, says he cannot wait to run on the field in Brisbane tomorrow.
Ketauwo will play for the national Under-18 schoolboys in their first tour match against Saint Brendan’s.
In the other tour opener, the U16s play Wavell State High.
The Highlands Zone representative will play for the national side for the second time after playing for the U16s on last year’s tour.
The PNG Rugby League Foundation-organised tour is having a positive impact on the country’s young talent, with players like Ketauwo benefiting from the high performance training he has had over a two-year period.
“Last year, we were new to the programme but we learned a lot. We took in a lot of good tips and advice and it has really improved my game,” Ketauwo said.
“We’ve even been using the GPS (Global Positioning System) like the Kumul Camp and NRL players to track our progress,” the Goroka Secondary Year 10 student said.
“We learned stuff like how to prepare properly, all the different and best stretches, fitness, patterns, and other things to improve our game.”
Ketauwo (pictured), who is a big fan of South Sydney’s Greg Inglis in the Australian National Rugby League, backs his home Digicel Cup side the Goroka Lahanis and follows fellow Goroka native Walter Hasu of the Lae Tigers.
“I hope to play well in Brisbane and hopefully we win all our four games,” he said.
“I just want do my job well, directing sets, taking on the line, kicking and chasing well and helping the side to win.
“Last year we lost two and won two so I think if we can do the things we did in training, that will get us the win.”
Players from these two groups are eventually expected to make the transistion to senior football, if they have not already done so, over the next two to three seasons but they would have a big advantage over their predecessors having experienced a well-run elite training programme.
The touring side already boast one fully-fledged Digicel Cup players in Lae Tigers big winger Wellington Albert, who is likely to play a leadership role on tour.
He said he was grateful at the effort his trainers had put into getting him and his teammates ready for the tour.
“They have got us ready and showed us how to prepare and we will gain from that. Jason Tassell (head trainer) is really good. I like the way he trains us,” Ketauwo said of the former Sydney City Roosters hardman who is the chief trainer of the schoolboys.
The PNG U18 and U16 schoolboys play their second match on Friday against Ipswich State High School.
On Sunday they take on the PNG Queensland Residents before taking on their final tour opponents, the junior teams of the famous InTrust Queensland Cup side, the Redcliffe Dolphins.
They 44-member schoolboys touring contingent return on next Thursday.