South Sydney Rabbitohs, Alex Johnston, has been named in the PNG LNG Kumuls squad to take on Fiji and Great Britain. Johnston, North Queensland Cowboys Daniel Russell, and Stanford Talita from the Hela Wigmen are the new faces added to the Kumuls team.
Johnston, who has immense experience in the NRL, has added a boost to the PNG squad.
“Wayne Bennett being there I think it probably has got a lot of influence on him (Johnston) you know making sure he represents PNG so I know he’ll probably want to represent Australia in the future but you know, he’s put his hand up to play for us these 2 test matches so we look forward to welcoming him into the side,” PNG LNG Kumuls coach, Michael Marum stated.
A 20-man team was named today for the two test matches against Fiji on the 9th of November, and Great Britain on the 16th.
Stanford Talita performed well during the Intercity Cup competition this year, and at the 9’s World Cup, earning a call up to the 13’s team.
“We’d like to see how he (Talita) can learn off the senior players, those are the guys around him so you know his position, there’s probably 3, 4 players that can cover centres wingers as well so, the main thing for us is for me to have a look at how he can learn and he’s a player that we’ll probably have in the future.”
Only 2 players from the 9’s team have been omitted in the likes of Bernard Lewis and Jedidiah Simbiken, while the rest have been included in the 20 men squad.
David Mead makes a return to the Kumuls team, but will miss the first test against Fiji.
Marum comments, “He won’t be playing the first test, he will be available for the second one he’s the only player I think, from what I know, we taking 20 men so we pick 18 for that game, 17 will play and 1 is 18th men.”
Coach Michael Marum’s forward pack sees Stanton and Wellington Albert, Luke Page and Enock Maki added to the squad.
Over the years the pool of players to pick from for the Kumuls team has increased, with players from Australia, England and France selected.
“It shows the depth of talent that we’ve been able to develop but and I keep saying that, we would not do this without the support of our partners so let me again acknowledge PNGLNG and ExxonMobil who have been with us as naming rights sponsors of the PNGLNG Kumuls since 2013 it’s a long time so the support that PNGLNG and ExxonMobil have provided through the team Kumul program.” Sandis Tsaka, the PNGRFL Chairman stated.
The squad will assemble in Port Moresby next Monday to begin preparations for their first match against Fiji in New Zealand.
The 20- man squad (in first name alphabetical order) is:
1. Alex Johnson – South Sydney Rabbitohs
2. Daniel Russell – North Queensland Cowboys
3. David Mead – Catalan Dragons
4. Edene Gebbie – Wynnum Manly
5. Edwin Ipape – Wynnum Manly
6. Enock Maki – PNG Hunters
7. Garry Lo – PNG Hunters
8. Justin Olam – Melbourne Storm
9. Kyle Laybutt – Townsville Blackhawks
10. Luke Page – Burleigh Bears
11. Moses Meninga – PNG Hunters
12. Nixon Putt – Norths Devils
13. Rhyse Martin – Leeds Rhino
14. Stanford Talita – Hela Wigmen
15. Stanton Albert – PNG Hunters
16. Stargroth Amean – Barrow Raiders
17. Terry Wapi – PNG Hunters
18. Wartovo Puara Jnr – Barrow Raiders
19. Watson Boas – Doncaster
20. Wellington Albert – Leeds Rhino
Coach: Michael Marum
By Elijah Lavett – EMTV Sports, Port Moresby