By JACK AMI
WITH the annual Pacific rugby league test scheduled for next month PNG Kumuls coach Michael Marum has made it clear that players only in major competitions will be considered.
The Kumuls, who were initially scheduled to play Lebanon, will now face the Fiji Bati in a one-off test.
Marum said selectors would focus on Q-Cup, NRL and Super League when looking at players for his squad which is expected to be named next month.
With several former Hunters including Bland Abavu, and David Loko and Digicel Cup players plying their trade in country leagues in Queensland, Marum said the competitions were not up to the level expected of players and it would be hard to assess their form.
Marum told The National that selectors would not be casting the net too far out despite having some former Hunters playing in those competitions.
He said the PNGRFL would focus only on larger competitions meaning that country league and park football in Queensland and NSW would not be considered nor would players in the English second division the Kingstone Press Championship.
“No, we won be looking at players in the smaller competitions in Australia. We will only select players from the Queensland Rugby League Intrust Super Cup, National Rugby League and Super League,” Marum said.
“Players from these competitions will be looked at. We can’t look at the other competitions because the level is not the same,” the SP Hunters coach said.
Marum acknowledged that there were many players eligible to play for PNG playing in the minor leagues in Queensland but they would not be considered.
“We know there are a lot of PNG players playing in many smaller leagues in Australia but the competition level low so for that reason we won’t consider them for the test.”
Marum former Hunters players who are playing in country leagues needed to play in the Q-Cup in order to be given consideration.
“These players were not dropped but released and told to go back and play in the Digicel Cup so they can make their way back to PNG Hunters and play again in ISC and have a chance but some of them have chosen to play country league. That’s fine but they should not expect to be picked.
“Only Thompson Teteh, who was with the Redcliffe Dolphins last season and then signed up with the Ipswich Jets, has joined us after that deal was not able to be honoured. Thompson Teteh played in the Digicel Cup and we recalled him because we needed a back.”
The players in the NRL eligible for Kumuls selection are Nene Macdonald, James Segeyaro, Alex Johnston, Justin Olam, Rhyse Martin and Kurt Baptiste.
Meanwhile the UK-based players are David Mead, Wellington Albert and Stanton Albert who play in the Super League.
By JACK AMI