Photo file: www.melbournestorm.com.au
By Bradley Valenaki – EMTV Sports, Port Moresby
“Oh brother Marcus Bai PNG’s only son,
Keep up the good work!
We Support you all the way”
– A stanza in the King of PNG and South Pacific music – Patti Pots Doi’s song entitled: Brother Marcus Bai.
The late 1990’s single captivated the rugby league fanatics in PNG as it heaped praise to one name idolized in rugby league in country – Marcus Bai.
Bai was signed by the newly formed Melbourne Storms club in 1998.
His rampaging runs defined his brutal PNG style of football, earning him a Dally M winger award and leading him all the way to the 1999 Premiership win with the club.
He became the only home grown footballer to do so then.
Fast forward exactly 20 years on and coincidentally another countryman is following down that same path.
He is PNG Kumul centre, Justin Olam!
Will he go all the way?
Olam is on track so far as the second successful home grown export ever to play in the Australian – NRL finals playoffs.
This week is the first week of finals footy!
Justin Olam, never as a player imagined great heights in his league carrier, having only played competition proper for the Unitech Spartans – from Lae’s University of Technology where he studied Applied Physics.
He later earned his place in the Lae Snax Tigers in PNG’s Semi – Professional rugby league competition, soon joining the PNG Hunters in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup, a promise that would later lead him for higher calling in the NRL.
EN ROUTE TO STORMS
The NRL, primed as the world’s toughest rugby league competition.
Finding a place in the 16 team tournament was equally hard for Olam, not to mention securing his place in the most consistent club of the modern era– Melbourne Storms.
The Storms player #187 didn’t give up on his dream.
Olam spent most of his game time in the team’s feeder club Sunshine Coast Falcons in the Intrust Super Cup after heading over in 2017.
EN ROUTE TO FINALS
Nicknamed Juzzy, he has played 14 NRL games in his short career, 11 of which came just this year.
The 25-year-old’s mid-year entry into top grade, scoring 7 tries, 2 try assists and 8 line breaks, has been the story of his form of late.
Juzzy is sure to make his mark in modern day rugby league for the 2019 Minor Premiers and the run to the finals will be something to watch.
One thing for certain, he represents the country when he plays his heart out on the field.
He plays this Saturday 14th, September 2019 at AMMI Park, Melbourne Australia when the Storm play Canberra Raiders at 5:40pm.