The Chairman of the PNGRFL Don Fox today announced the final 23-man squad to represent the PNG Kumuls at this year’s World Cup in the UK.
The squad will go into camp on the 7th October before departing for the UK on the 14th October. The team will play a lead up match against Scotland at Featherstone Hull on the 19th October before the Kumuls opening World Cup match against France on October 27th at MS3 Craven Park, Hull.
The PNGRFL will also hold a World Cup fundraising dinner on Saturday the 12th October at Dynasty Restaurant with all the World Cup players & coaches. The PNGRFL will announce this week one of the highest profile rugby league personalities to host the evening, which is certain to attract a sell out event. It will be the last chance for fans to farewell the squad before departure on the 14th October.
Chairman Fox thanked the National Selectors and coaches for their commitment;
“It is a long process and the selectors have really been fantastic and worked well with Mal and Adrian to come up with the final squad which is a blend of local and oversees based players. There are some young players also included, which is a good sign for the future and I know the coaching staff are working as hard as possible to prepare the team. There will obviously be disappointment for some and everyone will have their own opinion but I ask the public to get behind the squad selected and give them their full support. After playing the Australians, who are without doubt the bench-mark and the best in the world, the players are well aware of the level they have to be at and the hard work to be done before kick-off on the 27th. We are confident with the inclusion of the 6 players who were unable to play in the PM13 match we will be significantly stronger and ready to go.”
Fox also thanked the host region NGI for their support of the PM13 match;
“The entire community got behind the weekend. It was a wonderful promotion of rugby league in PNG and showcased the beautiful people and culture of East New Britain and the NGI region. I would like to specifically thank Governor Ereman Tobaining Jnr, Kevin Wright from Agmark and David Carroll and his working committee for their wonderful support in assisting us in putting together the entire weekend program. I would also like to thank Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Minister for Sport Justin Tkatchenko and the PNG Government for their backing of rugby league in PNG and of course sponsors PNG LNG, Air Niugini, NGCB and PNG Power.”
Head Coach Adrian Lam also thanked the National Selectors and the PNGRFL board;
“The selectors and the Board have been wonderful in their 100% commitment and backing of the program and Mal and I thank them sincerely for that. It was a tough day yesterday and it was a reality check for the players to work even harder when we get back into camp. We worked them extremely hard during the week, as our focus is being fit and ready for the World Cup. Full credit to the Aussies they were 100% on their game yesterday, but we are confident with a full strength side we will be highly competitive. It’s great to see a few young, raw players in the squad, which is a pointer for the future of PNG rugby league. We have always said that with all the troubles of the past we have fallen a long way behind the top nations, but with stability and a proper pathway and program in place we will see great results in the long-term and these young players will benefit from that. There is no quick fix and it will take time but we are working our guts out to make it happen. I know this group we have will represent the nation with pride at the World Cup.”
23 Man PNG Kumuls 2013 World Cup Squad – Captain to be announced prior to departure on the 14th October.
Josiah Abavu (Port Moresby Vipers), Paul Aiton (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats), Dion Aiye (Rabaul Gurias), Wellington Albert (Lae Tigers), Ase Boas (Rabaul Gurias), Jason Chan (Huddersfield Giants), Neville Costigan (Newcastle Knights), Israel Eliab (Port Moresby Vipers), Richard Kambo (Port Moresby Vipers), Roger Laka (Enga Mioks), Enoch Maki (Mendi Muruks), Larsen Marabe (Orange CYMS), Bosam McDonald (Sydney Roosters), David Mead (Gold Coast Titans), Mark Mexico (Lae Tigers), Jessie Joe Nandye (Whitehaven), Sebastien Pandia (Port Moresby Vipers), Francis Paniu (Rabaul Gurias), James Segeyaro (Penrith Panthers), Jason Tali (Mount Hagen Eagles), Ray Thompson (North Queensland Cowboys), Charlie Wabo (Mendi Muruks), Menzie Yere (Sheffield Eagles)
Head coach: Adrian Lam