PAPUA New Guinea's Intrust Super Cup team is set to be named the "Hunters" but their brightest talent has already been poached.
The Penrith Panthers have signed teenage PNG Test centre Wellington Albert on a two-year deal.
Albert shone for the Kumuls during the Rugby league World Cup and also had interest from the Gold Coast Titans and South Sydney.
He is the first PNG player to be recruited to an NRL club without coming through Australia's development system.
It is a great recognition of the talent level PNG will field next year in their debut season.
Playing out of quaint tourist town Kokopo, the Intrust Super Cup draw released yesterday revealed the first club to play them in PNG would be reigning champions Mackay Cutters.
Each team that travels to PNG will be given a bye the following week.
"After carefully considering a range of factors, we structured the draw this way to provide clubs and players with additional time to recover from the extra travel to PNG," QRL competitions manager Jamie O'Connor said.
"They will light up the competition and provide an element of surprise."
The new 13-team competition kicks off on the weekend of March 1-2, a week earlier than the NRL.
Gould said Albert had the same dimensions as a young Petero Civoniceva.
"Wellington will be groomed long term as a front row forward. At the moment he can play anywhere from wing to front row. Big, fast, strong," Gould wrote on Twitter.
"Wellington's physique reminds me very much of Petero Civoniceva at same age. Long way to go but he has great potential and is a wonderful attitude."
The official name of PNG's team will be announced on Monday but reports are it will be the Hunters.
Source: The Courier Mail
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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