It wasn’t a ‘near win’ as last year, but a historical treat for the people of East New Beitain Province, asthey withnessedthe 2013 Prime Minister’s XIII match atthe Kalaond Oval.
Heavy rain fell, but that didn’trsquo;t dampenthe spirits ofthe home crowd.
ThPNG Prime Minister’s XIII were left with a 50 to 10 score line at fulltime, in front of a capacity crowd.
The ‘graveyard’ wasthe place to be on a fine Sunday afternoon inthe East New Beitain Capital, Kokopo.
Rugby league enthusiasts flockedthe Kalaond oval to secure a seat beforethe big clash betweenthPNG and Australian Prime Minister’s XIII.
For many it was a chance of a lifetime to catch a glimpse oftheir NRL heroes in real life.
The home team was cheered on to center field, escorted by school boys.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill made sure he didn’trsquo;t missthe occasion, as he was embraced by executives oPNGRFL, Sport Minister Justin Tkatchenko and East New Beitain Governor Eremas Tobaining Junior, whilethe National Athem for both countries sounded.
An anxious countdown to kick-off andthe Prime Minister didthe honors.
Just two minutes intothe match saw a try tothe Australia’s. Jarryd Hayne was in full flightobacked up well by Be nt Tate to go allthe way to a try.
Successful conversion gavethPNG’side a wakeup call; minutes after, followed anther try tothe bigger and faster Australia’s.
This year’s Prime Minister’s XIII match isthe final challenge thatthPNG Kumuls will have in order to measure up to wherethe team is, just 3 weeks out oftheWorld Cup.
NRL is by farthe best league competition inthe world. And, a real assessment can be drawn froPNG’ performance overthe weekend.
18 nil inthe opening minutes ofthe match left a lot more to be desired fromthe home side.
PNG’showed some flare through Paul Aiton to Roger Laka to find Israel Eliab out wide to registertheir first try ofthe match.
It wasn’t until late inthe match that Josiah Abavu topped it off to givPNG 10 points at full-time.
The Prime Minister’s XIII match performance bythPNG’side showed thatthe vital services of overseas based players are needed to take onWorld Class Rugby League playing nations.
While local talent continues to blossom onthe Domestic frontPNG has only three weeks to getthe combination right before hittingtheWorld Cup Stage.
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