PNG Rugby League

Date: 1/5/15

ALBERT brothers Wellington and Stanton and Martin brothers Tyson and Rhyse will create history for the PNG Kumuls when they face Fiji Bati in Saturday’s Pacific Test match at the CBUS Stadium on the Gold Coast.

This is the first time in history when two sets of brothers will wear the red, black and gold in the same Kumuls team.

Haoda and Gideon Kouoru are the only other brothers who have donned the Kumuls Test jumper in the same team in the past.

Other brothers like the Krewantys – Arnold, Alex and Julius, the Wagambie’s John and Richard, have played for the Kumuls but at different periods of their football careers.

Coach Mal Meninga wanted to name his best possible side in a match that Kumuls will start as underdogs to favorites Fiji, who enter the game with that tag because they have more NRL stars in their side compared to PNG.

“To be honest, I’ve done it on purpose because I feel we’ll get the best out of both brothers if they’re playing footy together,” said Meninga.

“I think it’s fantastic. I think the Fijians have got the same, they’ve got the Millard brothers and the Saifiti brothers. I think it brings out the best in each brother if they’re playing footy together and it’s a special moment for all their families.”

“All the players have gelled and everyone is committed to the Papua New Guinea jumper. Training was excellent and their cohesion was great. It took a bit of time to work out some of the little chinks but the week is progressing really, really smoothly.”

The Kumuls gathered in Brisbane on Monday and travelled to their Surfers Paradise base to start a shortened week in camp ahead of Saturday’s Test match.

The team visited Dreamworld theme park, where they came face to face with crocodiles and koalas and sampled some stomach- churning rides, before training started in earnest on Tuesday.

“I really enjoy coaching the Kumuls and it has been a fantastic week…,” Meninga said.

The Kumuls, featuring a core of SP PNG Hunters players along with NRL regulars Ray Thompson (North Queensland Cowboys) and Nene MacDonald (Sydney Roosters) will come up against a strong Fiji side in Saturday’s encounter.

The Bati have brought in a number of new faces since last year’s Pacific Test defeat against Samoa, but still boast a side peppered with NRL talent including Kevin Naiqama (Wests Tigers), Marika Koroibete (Melbourne Storm) and Apisai Koroisau (Penrith Panthers).

“We want to be successful, we’re up for the challenge,” said Meninga.

“My role is to make sure the players are playing to their potential on Saturday night, so that’s what we have been talking about. Regardless of the result, we want to make sure they all play as well as they possibly can.”

PNG Kumuls face Fiji Bati at 5.30pm on Saturday. Negotiations are underway between PNGRFL and Kundu 2 as a free-to-air station to have the game telecast live. Click TV will also carry the game live.

The PNG Kumuls team is:
1. Josh Damen (Souths Logan Magpies),
2. Nene MacDonald (Sydney Roosters)
3. Thompson Teteh (SP PNG Hunters)
4. Kato Ottio (SP PNG Hunters)
5. Matt Trnka (Souths Logan Magpies)
6. Israel Eliab (c), (SP PNG Hunters)
7. Noel Zeming (SP PNG Hunters)
8. Stanton Albert (Penrith Panthers)
9. Ray Thompson (North Queensland Cowboys)
10. Wellington Albert (Penrith Panthers)
11. Rhyse Martin (Townsville Blackhawks)
12. Tyson Martin (Mackay Cutters)
13. Luke Page (Canberra Raiders)
14. Wartovo Puara (SP PNG Hunters)
15. Willie Minoga (SP PNG Hunters)
16. Brandy Peter (SP PNG Hunters)
17. Adam Korave (SP PNG Hunters)
18. Lawrence Tu’u (SP PNG Hunters)