targeted for national selection this year.
This is because the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister’s XIII will be on October 12, a week after the NRL grand final.
With the Australian PM’s XIII team likely to be at near Test strength
as well, PNG Rugby Football League board chairman Sandis Tsaka said the PNG side
needed to be as strong as possible.
Tsaka said national selectors would be
confirming those on the Kumul watch-list in the Super League in England, plus
the Queensland and New South Wales Cup competitions as well.
“On top of our home-based talent, our national selectors have been tasked to consider those
that are playing in all high level overseas competitions,” Tsaka said.
“If we can have James Segeyaro (Penrith Panthers), David Mead (Gold Coast Titans), Nene
McDonald (Sydney City Roosters), Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs) and
Wellington Albert (Penrith) that would be great.”
Tsaka said following the
success of the PNG U19 team at the Commonwealth Games Nines in Glasgow,
Scotland, this year, he was confident that national selectors would continue
their good job.
Tsaka would not elaborate on selections, but did indicate
that a host of Digicel Cup players were being considered as shadow players among
In regards to the coach, Tsaka said an official announcement would
be made to confirm the 18 players and team management later this month.
The leading candidate for the PM’s XIII job is PNG Hunters mentor Michael Marum,
with prospecting lieutenants in Hela Wigmen-winning Digicel Cup coach Stanley
Hondina, Lae Tigers coach Stanley Tepend and Kumul assistant Nigel Hukula among
the picks as assistants.
He said with the Digicel All-Stars and National Zone
All-Stars clash match being played as the curtain raiser, national selectors
will have all players, including Hunters players, to finalise the Test team for
the match against Tonga on October 19 at the Lae Rugby League
Tsaka confirmed that selections for the Digicel Cup
All-Stars team would be finalised this week and be endorsed by the PNGNRL before
an announcement was made.
He said the All-Stars coaching staff and management
would come from the Digicel Cups top four clubs – the Gurias, Wigmen, Tigers and
“The National Zone All-Stars team and coaching staff will be finalised
following the zone championships from September 13-16 in Lae,” Tsaka said.