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The National – Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FORMER Kumul captain John Wilshere  broke his silence on the performance of the 2010 Kumuls in this year’s Four Nations.
Wilshere, who led the Kumuls to the 2009 Pacific Cup in Port Moresby under coach Adrian Lam before calling it a day, was disappointed that the players who made the core of that team, were replaced by new players by the PNG Rugby Football League  executives this year.
“The Pacific Cup results of 2009 would have been a great platform to kick start the Four Nations campaign,” he told The National in an exclusive interview in Lae, where he is attending the inaugural Ahi Festival.
“But, obviously, what was to unfold in 2010 was that decisions made really affected the strong representation of PNG rugby league.
“I support the players but what every player needs are strong directions and a well-managed team.
“I guess the thing now for the Kumuls is that it (Four Nations) has made it harder for them to regain repect and credibility on the international scene.
“Whoever has the role now in leading the charge has a big task on his hands.”
Wilshere – a Kumul from 1998 to 2009 and captain from 2007-09 – said he was greatly disappointed that all hard work done over the years had been undone this year.
“Obviously, the results of the Four Nations were very disappointing,” he said.
“My thoughts go out to the players.
“They didn’t get the very best preparation as everything was done at the last minute.
“I can’t comment on the current situation of the PNGRFL but I assume this may have led to the side underperforming.
“I think it may have been a good learning curve for those players who were involved, but assistance from experienced managers, coaches and players can’t be ignored in future.”
Wilshere emphasised the need for development of the local competition as well as education on appropriate spectator development if the game in PNG were to progress.
“I think we really need to strengthen our local competition in order for us to be more competitive at the international level,” he said.
“We just need to make use of the assistance that overseas organisations offer in terms of educating our young coaches, trainers and managers and how best to train and coach our players here in PNG.
“One big issue that affects our game up here is crowd behaviour.
“I think a programme should be started on how to watch appropriately, with good behaviour being the objective,” the Butibam native said.
“For instance, in England, soccer hooligans are taught how to watch appropriately.
“Crowd behaviour has a big flow-on effect on the  players.”  Wilshere concluded that the whole future of the game in PNG depended on junior development.
“There needs to be a strong push in this area,” he said.
“We talked about strengthening the local competition and sending players overseas, however, the key is to strengthen junior development.
“We saw how Australia for years has dominated the international scene, but we now see New Zealand dominating because the junior development programme is taking effect.
“If PNG can put a junior development programme together, the results won’t be instant, however, it might bear fruit over the next five years.”