By Martin Lenehan
NRL Senior Journalist
The PNG Kumuls sent retiring skipper David Mead out on a high with a 24-14 win over Fiji at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night.
Mead grabbed a try and ran for 139 metres as he led his country to their eighth win in their past 10 Test matches.
PNG Kumuls Coach Stanley Tepend has named 19-men squad that were selected from the NRL as well as the Hostplus Cup.
PAPUA New Guinea international and South Sydney Rabbitohs winger Alex Johnston has declared his availability for the Kumuls’ June 25 Pacific Test against the Fiji Batis.
The Campbelltown Stadium clash in Sydney will be the Kumuls’ first Test match since 2019 when they recorded a historic win over Great Britain in Port Moresby.
Johnston, who is the 2014 premiership winner, told The National on Tuesday that he could not wait to play his third Test for PNG.
PREMIERSHIP winner Luke Lewis believes Papua new Guinea international James Segeyaro is “really staking his claim” to return to Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) now that his doping ban has been lifted.
While contracted at the Brisbane Broncos in 2019, the 31-year-old returned an A-sample drug test that was found to contain di-hydroxy LGD-4033, a metabolite of the banned substance Ligandrol.
Segeyaro faced up to four years out of the game, but last year, the NRL anti-doping tribunal downgraded his ban to 20 months after he successfully argued that he accidentally ingested the substance by using his housemate’s blender.
THE Papua New Guinea Kumuls will head into this year’s Rugby League World Cup with a new mentor following confirmation by Michael Marum that he will not re-apply for the role of head coach.
Confirming the end of his eight-year reign, Marum told The National yesterday that he was considering contesting a seat in his native East New Britain (ENB) in the upcoming general election.
He said he announced his decision during the PNG Rugby Football League annual general meeting (AGM) in Lae over the weekend.
“There had been a lot questions asked about whether I would re-apply for the role,” he said of the job, which had been first advertised earlier this month.
“But I have made my decision not to re-apply.
FORMER Papua New Guinea Kumul Tu’u Maori passed away yesterday at the age of 33 after a battle with motor neurone disease in Australia.
The disease is a condition that affects particular nerves known as motor nerves, or motor neurons.
Those neurons generate and die, and slowly the muscles become weaker. This eventually leads to paralysis.
Born on Nov 22, 1988, the 2015 Brisbane Rugby League premiership-winning Ipswich Jets captain was diagnosed with the disease in February, 2019.
PNG coach Michael Marum paid tribute to the Kumul No.209 soon after he received the news. He told The National yesterday that the former Cronulla Shark and Melbourne Storm junior had always donned the Kumuls jumper with pride.
THIS year’s Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) has been postponed to 2022 in response to the withdrawal of Australia and New Zealand due to concerns over player safety due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) chairman Sandis Tsaka told The National last night that it was a decision that had to be made, given the difficult situation with Covid-19 restrictions around the world.
“Whilst Australia and New Zealand had withdrawn earlier, the situation and concerns for many of the 23 participating countries in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions were similar and would have impacted the World Cup in one way or another,” the Asia-Pacific Rugby League chairman and International Rugby League (IRL) director said.
“The seven nations from Asia-Pacific — PNG, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Australia and New Zealand — would have been greatly affected by the decision of the Australian Rugby League Commission and the National Rugby League clubs. “To maintain the integrity of the World Cup and the participating nations, the decision was the right one.”
SOUTH Sydney are confident that Papua New Guinea Kumuls fullback Alex Johnston will be back in action for the National Rugby League club before the September finals.
The 26-year-old is part of national coach Michael Marum’s plans for the Rugby League World Cup should it take place in October.
But the recent withdrawal of the world’s top-two sides, Australia and New Zealand, from the showpiece event has prompted questions on whether the spectacle will go ahead as scheduled.
And while competing in the World Cup is a goal for many players, Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly told The National that Johnston’s immediate focus was to win his second premiership with the Bunnies.
PAPUA New Guinea Kumul Dan Russell missed out on a National Rugby League (NRL) contract after he completed a six-week train-and-trial stint with the Melbourne Storm in the pre-season.
But before his side’s Queensland Intrust Super Cup (ISC) round-six clash with the SP Hunters, the Brisbane Tigers centre told The National that he was hopeful of securing another first-grade opportunity.
Russell said he had sustained a knee injury in the final two weeks of his Melbourne stint.
BRISBANE will go searching for a top-flight outside back after Melbourne trumped their last-ditch bid, as well as the Titans’ late offer, to sign Papua New Guinea-born winger Xavier Coates on a two-year deal.
Conjecture over his future beyond this season has finally been put to bed with the Storm announcing his signing, on a deal understood to be worth around A$500,000 (K1.4 million) annually, until the end of 2023.
Brisbane had set aside a similar A$500,000 (K1.3 million) figure for Coates, and will now enter the player market to bolster their backline stocks.
NRL.com understands the Broncos have expressed interest in Storm utility Nicho Hynes among several rival clubs, with the utility back impressing at fullback in recent weeks with Ryan Papenhuyzen out injured.
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Downer Rugby League 9s World Cup
- PNG Kumuls 0 Australia 26
- PNG Kumuls 18 New Zealand Kiwis 18
- PNG Kumuls 23 USA Tomahawks 10
Pacific Test Results
2019 - PNG Kumuls 28 Great Britain Lions 10
2019 - Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 20
2019 - PNG Kumls 6 Samoa 24
2018 - PNG Kumuls 26 Fiji Bati 14
2017 - PNG Kumuls 32 Cook Islands 22
2016 - PNG Kumuls 24 Fiji Bati 22
2015- Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 22
World Cup Results
Round 1 : PNG Kumuls 50 Wales 6
Round 2: PNG Kumuls 14 Ireland 6
Round 3 PNG Kumuls 64 USA 0
Quarter Finals : PNG Kumuls 6 England 36