By John Davidson, (RLP RLWC Correspondent) Date: 4/11/13
Both teams are coming off a loss and both teams know another defeat could spell the end of their World Cup aspirations.
It’s crunch time for both Samoa and Papua New Guinea when they come to ahead at Hull’s Craven Park. Samoa started their tournament with a loss to New Zealand and the Kumuls did the same against France. They are each anchoring the bottom of Group B and will each be eager to finally get off the mark.
Hull is the location for this match, one of the most passionate rugby league areas in England. It’s the only city that boasts two Super League teams and is home to the competition’s fiercest rivalry, Hull FC versus Hull KR.
Craven Park is the home Hull KR, an intimate but intimidating stadium with a capacity of 12,000. It should be buzzing for this game, as the people of Hull are rugby league aficionados who love the game.
Papua New Guinea are based in Hull and are playing two of their three pool games at Craven Park. The Kumuls, who are hurting after the France slip-up, will have generous home support.
There has been a bit of backlash in Papua New Guinea after the one-point loss to the French and I’m expecting the Kumuls to be very fired up.
With both teams playing a physical brand of footy, there should be fireworks. Paul Aiton has escaped a suspension and he will be crucial for PNG. He steers the team around the park, is a calming influence and a creative outlet.
For Samoa, injured players Frank Winterstein and Reni Maitua are expected to be fit and available. The Samoan defence was poor against the Kiwis and they will need to improve greatly in this area. Goal-kicking is another area where they were poor and Anthony Millford must convert more of his opportunities.
Samoa has more NRL stars and are the favourites but the Papua New Guineans have been together longer are under greater spotlight. Samoa has shipped 90 points in their past two games, including the England Knights match, and their defence has been weak. The committed Kumuls should be able to punch their way through and cause some damage. It should be a close game either way, but I’m tipping PNG to upset Toa Samoa and get the win by six points.
Leeson Ah Mau
Bosam Nene MacDonald
Jessi Joe Nandye