The PNG LNG Kumuls team arrived at 11 am for their 1pm flight the team on monday for Brisbane en-route to Christ Church New Zealand where the team will face the Fiji Bati for their second round of their pool B match in the Oceania Cup.
Kumuls Assistant coach Stanley Tepend says the team has jelled in together in camp during the week long camp.
“We had a good week of training we worked on our field work in training and the team went on a bonding session at the Fisherman Island over the weekend,” Tepend said
It was all excitement as the team checked in at the counter; the team will meet up with Luke Page in Brisbane with David Mead not able to make the trip to Christ Church, coach Michael Marum is expected to name the starting line up tomorrow.
The team will have two training sessions before a captain’s run on Friday before their match on Saturday.
“We have a 20 men squad heading over for the match, we will meet with Luke Page in Brisbane, only 17 players will take the field so three will miss out, Coach Michael Marum will make the final team announcement tomorrow,” Tepend added.
Fiji beat Samoa 44 points to 18 over the weekend, despite Fiji showing some class in their match the Kumuls as observers have picked out Fijis setbacks.
“We watched the match and did a review, we saw that the Fijians did some mistakes that the Samoans didn’t capitalise on, we will be capitalising on them,” Tepend said
Fiji Made 15 offloads and 10 line breaks in their 44-18 win but also made 27 missed tackles, Kumuls captain Rhys Martin says the Kumuls must work on is stopping the Fijians offloads and second phase play.
“The Fijians have big players that can offload, we just have to be good on the day on Saturday, we need to shut down their second phase plays and offloads,” Martin said
But Kumuls captain Rhys Martin who will for the first time lead the team in the 13’s format of rugby league is confident the team bonding and their match review of the Fijians win will ensure a strong performance.
“We prepared well we did some strong running over the week long camp, we also had a chance to meet up with the fans and we are looking forward to the match against Fiji,” Martin said
The Fiji Bati side is littered with NRL contracted players with only three from outside competitions, PNG obviously lacks the NRL players, but Captain Rhys Martin is optimistic of AJ Alex Johnston and J Box Justin Olam, the only two players with NRL experience in 2019.
The team and PNG are itching to see these two backline players create some magic for their home country.
“Justin Olam is a good player we all know what he can do with ball in hand, and with Alex Johnston they are two strike players in the team, there are a lot of other strike players as well, and I can’t wait for us to play on Saturday,” Martin added
Assistant Coach Stanley Tepend sees the two players Johnston and Olam as a boost to the Kumuls team, with both players carrying most of the optimism of the PNG Fans.
“With Justin Olam and Alex Johnston playing well in the NRL season this year, the two players are an added boost to the team, with their help we can win the match,” Tepend said
By Fidelis Sukina, EMTV Sports, Port Moresby