The USA Hawks are prepared for a psychical encounter when they try to end Papua New Guinea’s three-game winning streak on Sunday at Port Moresby Stadium.
PNG all but sealed a spot in the quarter-finals with their win over Ireland last week, but a win over the USA will mean they do it in style by progressing through undefeated.
But on the other end of the spectrum is the USA, who are trying to remedy a four-game losing streak in which they conceded 35 tries across the matches.
But hooker, Dave Marando, who is normally a carpenter by trade, knows exactly to what to expect when he runs out in front of the 15,000 screaming Kumul supporters awaiting him.
“We asked a Fijian bloke what it’s like playing Papua New Guinea and he told us it was like running into a concrete post,” Marando said.
“We are going to be battered and bruised by the end of it, that’s for sure.”
Marando, 33, is normally used to the small crowds of his Sydney Shield games but will soak up every second of his chance on the world stage.
“THIS IS WHAT I CAME FOR, IT WILL BE THE GAME OF A LIFETIME REALLY AND A MOMENT I’LL NEVER FORGET.”
“I actually call it living the dream, I have a hashtag LTD and had that written on my wrist last game.”
With the stage set for an entertaining clash PNG coach, Michael Marum, has decided to mix his team up and try a new halves pairing for the match.
Lachlan Lam, son of PNG great Adrian Lam, will make his international debut for the Kumuls replacing Ase Boas in the halves.
Also coming into the team is Moses Meninga, Thompson Tete and Nixon Putt who will all join the starting side while Stanton Albert, Wellington Albert and Enock Maki make way.
The USA have also made some changes for the game with Joshua Rice, Matt Shipway, Charles Cortalano and David Ulch all dropping out in place of Jonathan Alley, Joe Eichner, Nicholas Newlin and Martwain Johnston.
Papua New Guinea will be looking to take full advantage of their final home game of the tournament and use the passionate crowd to their advantage.
The Kumuls have lit up Port Moresby stadium so far this tournament and expect them to do just that against an out matched Eagles outfit.
But for the USA a respectable defeat will be more than enough with Brian McDermott’s side improving each game as their combinations start to gel together.
James Coman1 | @JamesComan1
Rugby League World Cup 2017 Reporter
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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