PAPUA New Guinea Hunters captain Israel Eliab will play for the London Broncos next year after agreeing to a one-year contract last Friday.
Former Hunters winger Gary Lo has also penned a deal with English the second division side, Sheffield Eagles.
Eliab, who completed two seasons with the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored Hunters in Queensland’s Intrust Super Cup (ISC) competition, has opted to play in the English second division but according to Hunters coach Michael Marum, the five-eighth would be looking to eventually move up to the Super League.
“I think Izzy will do well at that level. The English second division is probably not the same as the Queensland Cup.
“I’m sure he’ll perform and then who knows maybe get a chance in the Super League,” Marum, pictured, said from Kokopo yesterday.
“We only started talks with them (Broncos) last month but things were confirmed last week.
“I exchanged a few emails with the London Broncos coach (Joe Grima) and along with Izzy’s manager Sam Ayoub, who’s based in Sydney, they all agreed to the one-year deal.
“They’re just completing the paper work but I expect Izzy to be in the UK (United Kingdom) by late next month or early January. In the mean time, he’ll still train with us (Hunters) when we start our pre-season training this week in Port Moresby.”
A dangerous ball-runner, Eliab, 24, has represented the country at the last World Cup (2013), won a Digicel Cup title with the Port Moresby Vipers in 2012, played for the PNG Prime Minister’s XIII side (2012-2014), played for the Kumuls in a test against Fiji on the Gold Coast in May and led the Hunters to second place on the ISC ladder and their first finals in only their second year.
He also won the ISC five-eighth of the year for 2014 and 2015.
On Lo, Marum said he had been in constant contact with his former charge and was happy he was getting a second chance with the Eagles after spending a year with the Hagen Eagles in the Digicel Cup “learning some valuable lessons”.
Marum admitted it would be hard to replace Eliab but said he was sure there was talent in the 36-man squad named last Thursday.
“Of course it’s going to be tough replacing a player like Israel but we’ve got experienced guys in the squad that we’ve retained and there are some young prospects coming through as well,” Marum said.
“The good thing is that the Hunters programme is giving our players opportunities in Australia and now England.
“When these guys get contracts and move out their places are then taken up by players coming up from the Digicel Cup so instead of waiting two or three years for a chance in the Hunters they get their chance sooner.
“Everyone – the players getting contracts and leaving and those coming into the Hunters – has been told that the work doesn’t stop now that they are in the team. They have to keep on working hard, developing their careers because it just keeps getting tougher.”
Marum said Eliab’s contract as well as Lo’s move to Sheffield, the “trial and train” stints that Kato Ottio (Canberra Raiders) and teenager Warren Glare (Cronulla Sharks) had secured, and forward Willie Minoga’s move to the Townsville Blackhawks boded well for PNG rugby league heading into the 2017 World Cup. The National
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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