Pacific Test

Mead bows out in style as Kumuls down Bati

Mead grabbed a try and ran for 139 metres as he led his country to their eighth win in their past 11 Test matches.

Fiji looked to have struck the first blow in the 10th minute when Taane Milne powered crashed over from close range but he was ruled to have lost the ball on the way to the ground.

Not to be denied the Bati kept the pressure on and co-captain Kevin Naiqama opened the scoring when he put in a grubber and cleaned up the scraps after Dan Russell had fumbled the ball. 

PNG goes down to Samoa

The Samoans got off to a terrific start at Leichhardt Oval under lights when Jarome Luai took advantage of spacing in the Kumuls’ ruck, sliding over for his team’s first try of the match.

Jamayne Isaako converted for a 6-point lead four minutes into the 2019 Ox & Palm Pacific Test Invitational match.

The monster Samoan forward pack kept battering the PNG defense but superb performance by the Kumuls kept them at bay until 20 minutes into the match when Josh Aloiai once again capitalises on gaps within the Kumuls’ line.

Marum defends Kumuls selection

He said this when questioned why no Digicel Cup players were not selected in the Kumuls Squad.

Marum said they are sticking with players from the NRL and Queensland and New South Wales Cup competitions given their level of competitiveness.

“We have a standard here, and we’ve won the Pacific Test two years in a row now so it will always be like that, and we can’t go down to that level.

“If you consider the level up there it is too tough. And I respect all the level there but at the moment our focus is on our best players,” said the coach.

Fiji unveil Pacific Test squad to face PNG

Hayne is just one of a number of NRL players included, with the likes of Suliasi Vunivalu, Akuila Uate, Kane Evans, Marcelo Montoya and Jayson Bukuya also named.

Wests Tigers speeder Kevin Naiqama will again captain the side from fullback, while Hayne will line-up in the halves.

While the backline has plenty of firepower, injuries to Viliame Kikau, Korbin Sims, Daniel Saifiti and Api Koroisau will mean the forward pack’s depth will be tested.

Fiji Bati squad to face Papua New Guinea:

PNG Kumuls squad announced

Among them are two debutants in Junior Rau and Rhadley Brawa.

Obvious exclusions include Ase Boas and Wartovo Puara Junior, while the remaining players are from the National Rugby League in Australia and the Queensland Cup.

The full PNG Kumuls squad (in alphabetical order) include:

1. Adex Wera (Hunters)

2. Enock Maki (Hunters)

3. James Segeyaro (Cronulla Sharks)

4. Junior Rau (Hunters)

5. Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm)

6. Kurt Baptiste (Sydney Roosters)

7. Lachlan Lam (Sydney Roosters)

8. Luke Page (Burleigh Bears)

It is a lifelong dream come true

The shy 21 year old Western Highlander played a hand in the win scoring one of the five tries in the Kumuls 32-22 triumph over the Cook Islands.

Put made his debut back in 2014 playing on the wing for the Mt. Hagen Eagles in the Digicel Cup competition.

2016 saw him shift into playing second-rower and after a stellar performance in the semi-professional competition, he got the nod from SP Hunters coach, Michael Marum.

 “I always prepare to slay my targets in every game and making it into the SP Hunters was one of my dreams.

PNGRFL thanks Kumuls

“On behalf of the PNGRFL Board and management, our corporate partners, sponsors and all the fans and supporters throughout PNG, let me congratulate Captain Rod Griffin and the players, Coach Michael Marum and his technical staff, for the outstanding performance and win and for representing our national sport and country with pride and honour,” said Tsaka.

Samoa stung by poor execution

The final match of the Pacific Test triple-header was, on paper, the hardest game to predict, but England's precision proved too much for a Samoan side that had its moments, but ultimately couldn't match it for 80 minutes with their northern rivals.

Pandia, Put and Butterfield to debut for Kumuls

The other debutants are Tommy Butterfield (280) and Nixon Put (281) who will both come off the bench.

PNG LNG Kumuls coach, Michael Marum said the trio have been playing well for their Intrust Super Cup teams and have been rewarded with a Test call up.

“Richard will start on the wing with Adex Wera moving to the centres,” said Marum.

Marum added that Wellington Albert and Israel Eliab will start off the interchange bench.

Chairman of the PNG Rugby Football League, Sandis Tsaka will present the jerseys to the debutants at the team hotel tomorrow evening.

Griffin is captain, Minoga out, Eliab in

The 30 year old from Wabag, Enga Province made his debut for the Kumuls as a 20-year-old in 2007 against Wales. He is Kumul #218.

It will be a memorable occasion for Griffin when he runs on for the Kumuls for the 11th time, but first as captain.

“I thank Coach Michael Marum for giving me the honour to captain PNG in this test.

“It’ll be great to lead the boys out on Saturday. Captaining your country, there’s nothing like it.