Dragons’ De Belin puts PNG call on hold
St George Illawarra’s Jack de Belin won’t be included in Papua New Guinea’s squad for their upcoming Test match against Fiji but newly appointed head coach Stanley Tepend is hopeful the lock will accept a call-up later in the year.
Tepend and his predecessor Michael Marum have held discussions with De Belin about representing his grandmother’s birth nation over the last 12 months.
De Belin only returned to the NRL last year and hasn’t played representative football since 2018, with the 31-year-old ruling himself out of Kumuls selection ahead of next week’s Test at Campbelltown.
“We have spoken to Jack and he was undecided,” Tepend told AAP.
“We respect his decision and while we haven’t picked him for this Test we have left the door open for him to make a call when he is ready.
“If he wants to play in the World Cup later this year, we will happily accommodate him.
“It’s a short camp and we won’t have any players from our domestic competition or the Super League.”
Tepend has also opted to leave experienced hooker James Segeyaro out of his squad after he resumed his playing career in the NSW Cup earlier this year following a drugs ban.
“He offers a lot but hasn’t been playing over the last couple of years,” Tepend said.
“It’s not to say he is totally out (of my thinking) and hopefully he can be in our team at the back end of the season.”
Tepend’s squad will be primarily filled by players from Queensland Cup side the PNG Hunters along with a smattering of NRL players.
Brisbane’s David Mead is expected to play centre alongside Melbourne’s Justin Olam, with the pair set to be named Tepend’s captain and vice-captain respectively.
Canterbury’s Bailey Biondi-Odo is due to make his PNG debut in the halves alongside Sydney Roosters playmaker Lachlan Lam, with South Sydney winger Alex Johnston the Kumuls fullback.
Next : PNG International Johnston Available For Clash With Fiji
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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