The inaugural Downer 9’s Rugby League World Cup is set to kick off tomorrow in Sydney, Australia, with the Kumuls to play USA in their first match.
The PNGLNG Kumuls will be depending on the experience of senior players during the 9’s World Cup.
Players such as Watson Boas, Wartovo Puara Junior, Captain Rhys Martin and Stargroth Amean will play a huge role in the Kumuls’ campaign at the 9’s World Cup.
The team, comprised of both experienced and new players, was selected on performance throughout the year.
Boas, Puara junior, Martin, Amean and a few other players included in the team will be riding on the experience from the Rugby League World Cup in 2017.
“Throughout the year we played 13’s that’s like one of the difference with most of the boys, during off season some do play 9’s, but with this level it’s like we’ll be playing against some top players, NRL players.” Boas said.
He added “Australia and New Zealand are in our pool so it’s going to be strong games against them but we just have to concentrate on our training.”
Puara junior and Amean play for the Barrow Raiders in England, while Boas and the other former SP Hunters players in the 9’s team have played together before.
Though there are a few new players, the core of the team remains, along with the combinations they’ve built over the years.
Wartovo Puara Jnr said “I think with the bond I think most of the boys have played together in test match for last year and this year so it’s not a problem for us, the only thing now is I think our fitness and our combination and how to play the 9’s.”
New inclusions are Stanford Talitha who was selected from the Hela Wigmen, and Jedidiah Simbiken who plays for the Redcliffe Dolphins.
“I haven’t seen Stanford play so I’m excited to see what he’s got, he’s a big body and he looks very powerful I heard he killed Digicel Cup this year so I’m excited for him and he should be very proud of himself not many boys get to play at this level so good on him and all the other guys.”
Elijah Lavett, EMTV News, Port Moresby