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.
Tsaka hails PNG LNG for renewing sponsorship for the next three years
THE Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, operated by ExxonMobil PNG, yesterday announced the renewal of its sponsorship for the Kumuls and their domestic programmes with an allocation of K5.4 million over the next three years.
ExxonMobil PNG executive director, production, Keith Killian said the PNG LNG project, which had been backing the Kumuls since the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, was proud to continue its support of the national men’s team.
He said they were happy to support the Kumuls for this year’s World Cup in England as well as upcoming test matches and programmes.“
“The Papua New Guinea Rugby League family are deeply saddened by the loss of our nation’s Founding Father, Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare. We grieve with the country during this time, as we have lost an Icon, a Nation Builder, role model and leader, whose passion and love for his country, drove him to strive for independence and birth a nation.
We pay homage to Sir Michael’s life of unparalleled public service to his people and country and share our sincere gratitude for his immense contributions to our nationhood and our future. Our united country of a thousand tribes will forever be his legacy.
Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare on many occasions, graced us with his presence to inspire, celebrate and share memorable moments with our national teams. These are sacred occasions which we will hold dear and treasure. Our national teams; the PNG LNG Kumuls, the Oil Search PNG Orchids and the SP PNG Hunters will continue to draw inspiration from his legacy as they adorn the PNG colours with the same aspirations.
On behalf of the Board, Management, Staff and our entire rugby league family, we pass our condolences to his wife Lady Veronica, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and the extended family. We share your grief and send our prayers and thoughts during this time.
Thank you Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, may your soul rest in eternal peace.”
QUEENSLAND Maroons coach Wayne Bennett has named Papua New Guinea international Xavier Coates on the wing for Wednesday’s State of Origin series opener at the Adelaide Oval.
The 19-year-old was yesterday named in the 21-man squad which includes 11 players who are also yet to play Origin football.
They are AJ Brinsom, Brenko Lee, Phillip Sami, Jake Friend, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Lindsay Collins, Jaydn Su’A, Kurt Capewell, Moeaki Fotuaika, Dunamis Lui and Hymel Hunt.
“It’s pretty tough to believe it, after everything that’s happened this year, but I’m absolutely stoked to be here, the boys have been so welcoming and we’ve bonded really well,” Coates said.
“Not at all (did I expect the call-up); I had planned a holiday and they gave me fitness programmes, so I wasn’t slacking off but I never expected to be picked at all.”
Coates was born in Port Moresby and played a solitary Test for PNG last year.
His pace and athleticism was a breath of fresh air in Brisbane’s historic wooden spoon season, reminding some of the man Coates said was “pretty much everyone’s Origin hero”.
Story by Hilda Wayne
Papua New Guinean rugby league player Elsie Albert has made history by becoming the first homegrown PNG export to be recruited by an Australian NRL women's club, the Illawarra Dragons.
The 24-year-old, who is also the captain of the PNG national side, the Orchids, told the ABC she had more than one club wanting to sign her.
After months of COVID-19 uncertainty, the 2020 NRLW seasons begins this weekend and Elsie has joined the rest of the Dragons squad for the very first time.
"I'm just humbled, and I'm just excited that I get this opportunity to play in the NRLW," she said.
PAPUA New Guinea flyer David Mead is determined to prolong his rugby league career beyond this season despite entering the final few months of his contract with English Super League side Catalans.
The 31-year-old back has made 51 appearances across three seasons for the Dragons, helping them win the Challenge Cup in 2018.
Though he is open to offers from Super League and Australia’s National Rugby League, a stay in Perpignan, France, is the preferred option at this stage for the Tubusereia native.
THE country has lost one of its most colourful rugby league personalities following the death of former Papua New Guinea Kumuls captain Bal Numapo, says Sports Vice-Minister Wesley Raminai.
On behalf of the Government, the Kagua-Erave MP paid tribute to the 57-year-old, who he described as a gentleman and an easy person to speak with because of his humility.
“My deepest condolences to the family of the late Numapo,” Raminai said from his hospital bed in Port Moresby yesterday.
He is recovering from a vehicle accident which happened on the Okuk Highway on July 23 while returning to the nation’s capital from an electoral visit.
XAVIER Coates’ speed and aerial antics would be booster for Papua New Guinea in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup says Townsville Blackhawks and Kumul five eight Kyle Laybutt.
Laybutt made the comment after the 19-year old PNG born Brisbane winger dethroned Melbourne Storm’s Josh Addo-Carr as the fastest player in the National Rugby League according to Telstra Tracker data.
The Kumul number 289, Coates clocked 36.9km/h when he latched onto an intercept pass and ran the length of the field to score the Broncos' only try in the 27-6 loss against Newcastle last week.
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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
201 9 - 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