​16yo AFL star selected

16-year-old star Hewago ‘Ace’ Oea was selected on the interchange, capping off a remarkable Cup debut at the 2017 AFL International Cup.

He is among three PNG Mosquitoes and two Flames players selected in the respective 2017 AFL International Cup World Teams.

Papua New Guinea’s elite AFL talent was recognised on the world stage at the Gala Dinner event held at Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia.

Mozzies coach David Lake took home World Team Coach honours alongside New Zealand coach Rob Malone, as both men steered their teams to the Cup Final.

For the Mosquitoes, captain John James Lavai was selected on the back flank. He maintained his high standard of play from previous international cups and proved a class above, setting up play across half-back while locking down on his opponents defensively. 

Lavai was also named captain of the World Team with NZ captain Andrew Howison. 

Greg Aki was selected at back pocket. Aki was amongst the Mozzies most consistent performers across their 5 matches, and was able to shut out key opposition players as he commanded the backline and proved unbeatable in one-on-one contests. 

John Ikupu was selected at centre half forward. Ikupu was a dominant force in every match, with opposition players struggling with his size, strength and versatility. He played forward and ruck and exploited his contested marking skills across the carnival. 

Possessing elite disposal and decision-making skills, young Hewago Oea seemed to always have time with the ball even when players were crashing and bashing around him. Oea produced a best on ground performance against NZ.

(Hewago Paul OEA celebrates a goal with teammates during the 2017 AFL International Cup Grand Final match on August 19, 2017, in Melbourne, Australia – Source: Michael Dodge/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Sophie Yaruso