By ZACHARY PER
THE current Kumuls team that got thrashings from Australia, New Zealand and England was not the side put together by the national selectors.
Selectors from the four regions submitted a list of players comprised of mostly players that won the Pacific Cup.
National selector from the Southern region Kera Ngaffin made this known in Goroka yesterday.
“We wanted to maintain the Pacific Cup team and that was the team we gave to the PNGRFL board to consider,” he said.
Chairman of the national selectors Arnold Krewanty, however, refused to comment on the issue when contacted earlier saying that when the team and management returned, there would be a “post-mortem” on the performance.
However, Ngaffin said the board under Gary Juffa made changes to suit their own selection motives and criteria.
He said three years of preparing and developing players for the Four Nations under the leadership of Adrian Lam had gone to waste.
“All the efforts were hijacked in the last minute by the board that saw Lam resign and the Kumuls got heavily thrashed,” Ngaffin said.
The former Kumul captain with 12 Tests to his name wants rugby league supporters in the country to know that the current team in the Four Nations challenge was a creation of coach Stanley Gene and Juffa.
“Most of the players selected for the current team were removed by the selectors for attitude and disciplinary reasons, but we do not know how they got into the team,” Ngaffin said.
Previously, PNGRFL interim committee member Juffa had always maintained that Kumul selection was done in close consultation with the national selectors and that several players were brought in add quality and experience to the squad. But Ngaffin has rubbished Juffa’s claims saying some players were allegedly picked on a “whom-you-know” basis and that the process was hijacked by Juffa so he should not pass the buck.
Juffa came out on NBC radio last week after the Kumuls 76-12 thrashing by New Zealand and sacked the national selectors.
In another twist it is believed that Krewanty resigned after the Kumuls team was initially announced. However, PNGRFL board allegedly kept silent about it.
Ngaffin called for Juffa to resign because he had watered down years of hard work put together for the Four Nations tournament.
Former coach Adrian Lam saw the problem looming and resigned to maintain his good record. Likewise Kumul forward Neville Costigan and Keith Peters declined selection citing an ARL restriction and injury respectively.
Paul Aiton reportedly said “something was missing” after the New Zealand game. He may have realized that PNG desperately needed Lam and key players for big games.
The past three years of the International versus Residents (bemobile side) fixture to select the Kumuls was not played this year and while time may have been a factor Nagaffin this match would have provided selectors a better opportunity to pick a well balanced side.
“The selection process was sabotaged by PNGRFL management.
“The writing is on the wall for Lam to be brought back,” Ngaffin said.