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PNG PM’s XIII square off against Aussies

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister’s XIII will be looking to cause an upset when they face their Australian counterparts in a week’s time.

The team will not be a full fledged Kumul’s outfit but will have the services of some of its key players who handed Fiji a defeat in June as they will be busy with NRL finals. This is the same handicap the Australians will carry.

Coach Stanley Tepend said every player who was selected knew what they had to do and performance in this game could allow a few selections for the World Cup squad. He has selected eight players who played against Fiji.

Kumuls Justin Olam shows why he is so dangerous with the ball against Fiji in June. Picture: PNGKumuls
Kumuls Justin Olam shows why he is so dangerous with the ball against Fiji in June. Picture: PNGKumuls

“These eight did their job against Fiji and that’s why they have been given another opportunity at this level. Playing Australia in this match will be no different,” said Tepend.

“Every player selected was the best we could pick considering all the clashing finals on same weekend and injuries to key players recently were factors out of our control during this selection process. However, we hope to carry on from what we built in the Pacific Test and give our boys a competitive hit-out before the World Cup Squad is announced.

PNG will definitely lean on a solid defensive structure, showcased against Fiji with a close-knit group of players from the Queensland Cup Including Central Queensland Capras trio Zev John, Nixon Putt and Mckenzie Yei, who are fresh off a high-intensity final series in the Hostplus Cup.

PNG coach Stanley Tepend has named 20 players for the game against Australia. Picture PNG Kumuls
PNG coach Stanley Tepend has named 20 players for the game against Australia. Picture: PNG Kumuls

“I will be looking at the new players coming into this game, with each of them a genuine chance at making it into the World Cup squad. We have spots available, and this is their opportunity to prove that no matter what we face or what situation we are put in, we rise together,” said Tepend.

“We will be coming up against a good Australian team and playing at the best Rugby League stadium. So, it’s important for this group of boys to not let the occasion get to them but play the way we want to.”

Twenty players have been invited to take part in the week leading into the PM’s XIII in Brisbane.

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