Hello there all our rugby league families in PNG and overseas. Welcome to the 15th edition of the Coach’s Corner in your favourite rugby league newspaper – The National.
We are half way through our rugby league season. Most competitions started in March / April and will or should end in August or mid -September.
Our rugby league structures with players and staff at the top level are in transition / succession phases. And these changes are happening or will happen at the junior level.
Let me explain what I mean by this ‘transition or succession phase.’
Our PNG LNG Kumuls saw seven debutants at the recent Oceania Cup Pacific Test against Samoa in Sydney. They were selected on merit and deserved their spots replacing the injured players and those who were unavailable. Assistant Coach Stanley Tepend was and will be given more responsibilities in the coaching role in future Internationals.
The Oil Search PNG Orchids had 13 new faces in their 18 player squad at their recent Pacific Test against Fiji in Sydney. The transition to this level from local competitions is a huge step. Coach Nigel Hukula can make our national women’s team a force to be reckoned with on the world stage in the next two years and beyond. It is encouraging to see changes happening in local competitions and in the juniors at schools.
The SP Hunters are going through a transition phase. Eleven players remained from last year with the bulk of them moving to other ISC and English clubs, some retired or leaving for personal reasons. The new players selected from the Digicel Cup and Confederate competitions joined the camp in pre- season training season since November. Some endured while some did not. Their transition into the Hunters schedules and structures are challenging and rigid. Transition into this new culture requires changes to their personal lives.
Assistant coaches Glen Nami and Roderick Puname have settled in and adapted to this environment since coming on board about three or so months ago. Both have and are given the responsibilities to plan training sessions and selection of teams every week. They will undergo training to upgrade their qualifications for accreditation to NRL level in compliance with QRL requirements. This is our succession plan.
The two trainers Mong Tavol and Moses Guise, who joined the SP Hunters coaching staff at the start of this season, recently completed their NRL Level 1 Trainers course. This is a requirement which enables them to run onto the field during play. For those who do not know, you will see the trainers wearing either in a blue or yellow vest run onto the field during a game.
These transition and succession plans and phases have begun now and will take time. There is no timeline. We will ensure they meet all required standards and expectations.
PNG LNG Kumul centre Xavier Coates who was born in Port Moresby and mum from Gulf Province looks set to cement a spot in the Brisbane Broncos side. He is an exciting player with the ball. And is a solid and very good defender and will serve the Broncos well.
Our other Kumul and goal kicker Rhys Martin jets off to the England to join Super League side Leeds Rhinos. He joins up with Kumul teammate Wellington Albert. The pair follow Marcus Bai at this club.
Justin Olam had a ‘fair’ game with the Melbourne Storm over the weekend. There are areas in his game he needs to polish up on. As long as he makes the most of these opportunities, Craig Bellamy still has that faith in him.
Good to see Lachlan Lam return from injury for the Sydney Roosters.
Nixon Put and James Segeyaro fly into Port Moresby with the Noerths Devils to take on SP Hunters in Round 16 of the Intrust Super Cup clash on Sunday.
Glen and Rod are putting the Hunters through the paces at training after that embarrassing loss on Sunday in Cairns. Our season is hanging there on a thread. A repeat performance of our last game at home is on the cards so come down to NFS and support our team and James and Nixon as well.
Digicel Cup Round 14 is on this weekend and is dedicated to supporting the Kimbe Cutters initiative to raise funds for the volcano affected people in West New Britain. Please donate a Kina or two if you can.
The Coca-Cola Regional Schools Championships is over. The best talents have been selected to represent their Confederates in the Boys U14, U16 and U18 and Girls Open U18. Prepare well now before you come to Port Moresby for the Coca-Cola National Schools Championships from July 22 to July 27, 2019. Look forward to seeing these youngsters during that week.
Good luck to Team PNG at the Pacific Games in Samoa starting on Monday. Our Men’s Team is defending the Gold Medal when we beat Samoa in Port Moresby in 2015. Now it’s on their turf to win it back. Leonard Tarum has prepared the team for the past three months and knows this huge challenge ahead of him.
The women’s nines is a first in the Pacific Games. Under the watchful eyes of Bugsy Bagelo, you can only give your best.
Keep those views and comments coming to the Hunters Forum on email: email@example.com; If you have any questions on any aspects/rules of the game , please send those through as well and I will get back to you.
Until next week, play hard, play safe and play by the rules in whatever sport you are participating in. And if you are a supporter and/or spectator, cheer for your team but don’t cause trouble.