THE Papua New Guinea Pepes finished strongly at third place at the Nations Cup in Singapore after beating Sri Lanka 60-48 on Saturday.
Pepes co-captain Winnie Mavara was relieved to have come out on top.
“We knew Sri Lanka would give us a tough game after we beat them by a big margin last time,” Mavara said.
“We were disappointed not to make the final.
Sri Lanka came out strongly and we have a few injuries so it was hard for us. In the fourth quarter we gave it our all. We have nothing left, we go home after this, and it worked.”
The Pacific MMI-sponsored Pepes gained composure in the second period and took the advantage (29-26 at halftime) winning the playoff by four goals after goal attack Tiata Baldwin missed several scoring chances, PNG could not afford to step off the gas at the entered the final 30 minutes of play.
Baldwin was moved to gaol keeper for the second half to partner goal defender Kilala Owen in the defensive circle in an attempt to shut down Tharjini Sivalingam but Sri Lanka fought back and won the third quarter by two goals, trailing by a point going into the final quarter.
The Pepes were already disappointed at not having a chance at the title after missing out on goal differential to Uganda and they were not prepared to settle for anything less than third position.
On Friday, the Pepes started their final group match sitting joint-second on the table and knew that nothing but a win against the Republic of Ireland would see them into the final.
They lifted the Nations Cup trophy back in 2008 but in their last appearance in 2011 could only manage a 5th place so the squad which included many familiar faces from their past outings had much to prove.
It was the Pepes who started the better of the two sides going ahead 17-11 after the first quarter, though both teams made several errors and looked tense on court.
Ireland was desperate to secure a second win in the competition and came to Singapore with the aim of bettering their 6th place finish in 2012, but they were always on the back foot and failed to convert too many vital scoring opportunities in the first half with it ending 33-17.
PNG defeated Ireland 66-33 to advance to the third-place playoff. Debutant Kimberly Rawali was awarded the most valuable player award.
In the final, Uganda were crowed the 2013 Nations Cup winners after defeating hosts Singapore 52-29.
AN offer is expected from Penrith Panthers this week for decisions whether Kumuls utility Wellington Albert joins the Sydney-based NRL club next year.
There is also considerable interest from three other NRL clubs, Gold Coast Titans, South Sydney and West Tigers, those dealing with Albert’s fledging rugby league career, have as alternate possible options.
Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League acting chief executive Brad Tassell said on Thursday from Brisbane where he was attending a series of meetings that Albert was on his way back to Port Moresby following “extremely positive” discussions with the Panthers.
The rush of interest in the 20-year-old comes on the back of Albert’s tour with the Kumuls to the just ended World Cup in England.
Coach Adrian Lam decided to throw the young man into the pool match against New Zealand Kiwis and Albert delivered with an “eye-catching” performance scoring a try in the Kumuls 48-10 loss.
It seems his agent Steve Deacon has been a busy man in the last few weeks marketing the young man’s potential to NRL clubs.
Last Tuesday, Albert flew Sydney to meet with Deacon to hold talks with Panthers chief Phil Gould and coach Ivan Cleary.
Albert, who stands at 191cm and tips the scales at 102kg, is seen as a future top line footballer that can reach his potential at an NRL club set up.
Albert returned to Port Moresby on Thursday to re-join the PNG Queensland Cup training camp.
The three-week camp, started last Monday at Bomana Police college at which coach Michael Marum was expected to use to trim down his 50-member squad to 25.
“Discussions were extremely positive with Wellington, his agent, Phil Gould and Ivan Cleary from Penrith,” PNGRFL CEO Brad Tassell said.
“We are expecting an offer next week (this week) from them.”
“There is also considerable interest from the West Tigers, Titans and South Sydney,” he said.
“So it will take a bit of time to weigh up what is the best situation for Wellington.”
THE Papua New Guinea Pepes returned to the winners circle in the Nations Cup yesterday after thrashing the United States of America 72-31 in Singapore.
The Pepes, with the best world ranking at 18 in this tournament, started off strongly on the opening day on Sunday, beating Sri Lanka 76-52 before going down to hosts Singapore 44-43 the next day. Against Uganda on Tuesday, a game the Pepes were confident of winning, did not turn out as expected as the Pepes could not knock off the Africans, drawing 52-52.
Pepes co-captain Winnie Mavara said the draw on Tuesday was a a disappointment as they had hoped to win that game.
“We were hoping to win this one (against Uganda). We did not expect such a hard game,” said Mavara, who started at centre.
She was replaced by young Kimberley Rawali in the second quarter.
Rawali (pictured) made her international debut in fine fashion, with a significant contribution to keep her shooters well supplied with balls.
“They came out stronger in the second half, they wanted it more. They are very physical compared to the other teams we have played; from the shooters to the defenders.
“Tomorrow against the USA we have to go out hard, we have to get back to winning again,” Mavara (pictured) said.
And that’s exactly what they did yesterday against 19th ranked USA which would have given their confidence a massive boost as it puts them back on course for the play-offs.
That victory on the back of a well-controlled team performance where they led throughout until the final whistle puts them in good stead as they now prepare for tomorrow’s game against Republic of Ireland to confirm a top-two playoff spot on Saturday.
The Pepes gave themselves the ideal start when they led USA 23-9 in the first quarter and maintained the advantage 38-18 at half-time.
At the close of the third quarter PNG were never in any real danger of dropping the match as they streaked away to a 29-point lead, 55-26.
Towering Tiata Baldwin at goal shooter and veteran Maleta Roberts at goal attack were in command from the first whistle and never looked like slowing the tempo or taking the foot off the gas.
The rest of the team contributed with solid displays as Papua New Guinea controlled most facets of the game from mid-court to both shooting circles. PNG Facts / The National
According to Sydney Morning Herald, Penrith hooker James Segeyaro is planning to change his nation of allegiance in order to be eligible for Queensland selection.
Shifting from North Queensland to Penrith, Segeyaro proved to be one of the buys of the season after giving the Panthers spark from dummy-half. Only a pectoral injury prevented him from taking his place at the World Cup, where he was set to represent his birthplace of Papua New Guinea.
Segeyaro knows Cameron Smith has a mortgage on the Maroons No.9 jersey and that there will be plenty of capable candidates - including Jake Friend and Matt Ballin - lining up to eventually replace him. And while his more immediate goal is becoming an 80-minute player for the Panthers, the 22-year-old is aiming high.
''I want to change my allegiance and put my hand up for Queensland,'' Segeyaro said. ''That's a long way away, you've got guys like Friendy in the frame and he's a great player. In saying that I want to play No.9 for 80 minutes consistently and try to get into the finals. It's a personal goal to be a guy who can do it for the whole game just like those good NRL players in Michael Ennis and Cameron Smith, Danny Buderus. Buderus is a bit of an idol, he's not just a good player but a good bloke as well. To be respected on and off the field is something I'd like to achieve in the next few years.''
He recently finalised a contract extension which will keep him at Penrith until the end of 2016. While some observers questioned the shift, Segeyaro always knew there was potential at his new home. ''I'm really happy with the move,'' he said. ''Heaps of critics said it was a stupid move for me seeing I was playing with Johnno [Johnathan Thurston] and Matt Scott and all of those class players. And after Payney [Aaron Payne] left, hopefully I would have got a starting role. But I thought Penrith was the best decision for me so I put my head down and I'm happy with the season I had. It could have been better, we could have been in the finals, but hopefully next year we'll go a bit better and we'll do that.'' Penrith have again been aggressive in the player market. They have bought experienced players Peter Wallace, Jamie Soward and Brent Kite, as well as exciting youngsters including Elijah Taylor, Kevin Naiqama and Tyrone Peachey. The Panthers also made the grand final in the NSW Cup and the National Youth Competition, winning the latter.
''Everyone is putting their hand up to come to first grade so I've got to watch my position,'' Segeyaro said. ''It's good that Wallace and Sowie are here while Brent Kite brings a lot of maturity to the group. It's what we've been lacking the last couple of years, a few of those older boys to steer us young fellas around. They will help us be more professional.'' Most critics tipped the Panthers for the wooden spoon in 2013 and they will again be at long odds next season. Segeyaro said the jibes provided further motivation to prove the knockers wrong. ''It definitely drives me and the whole team.''
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Preparations for the 15th Anniversary Coca Cola Ipatas Cup (CCIC) 2014 are currently progressing well with many teams from the Highlands and the Northern zones eager to partake in the competition.
Two top former International Rugby League players have been appointed by the board of CCIC and were announced during CCIC CEO Timothy Lepa’s visit to Mt Hagen, Jiwaka and Chimbu recently.
Former PNG Kumuls forward Ben Ezekiel has been appointed chairman of the CCIC Jiwaka challenge along with another former Kumuls captain Bal Numapo retaining his chairmanship for the Chimbu challenge.
James Meninga will head the Western Highlands challenge and will be supported by John Passingan and Match Commissioner Mal Taime. Meninga, Passingan and Taime will be backed by the new board of Mt Hagen League headed by Cr John Roipa.
Lepa also confirmed six teams to participate in the WHP challenge which are Nebiliyer Spartans, Mt Hagen City Rangers, Ako Spiders, Mul Norths, Kui Raiders and Numusa Baiyer Roosters.
Chimbu will have only four teams which are Sinesine Yongo Brothers, TNA Angras, Kerowagi Royals and Kongo East.
Jiwaka Challenge has also four teams from South Waghi and they are Arkang Kembis Riders, Kerex Rangers, Kuma Cowboys and Minj Royals. North Waghi teams are not confirmed yet and games for the Jiwaka Challenge will be played at Minj Rugby League grounds.
“Eight Teams from the Northern Region are also preparing themselves to meet in the Morobe Province in December. They are teams from Madang, Kainantu, Ramu, Lae, Bulolo and Wau,” says Lepa.
Northern Challenge teams who have already paid in their Registration fees are Three Mile Brothers of Lae and Armsec Bulolo Miners.
CCIC Northern Challenge Coordinator Mona Tonsy Clyde says the CCIC Board have moved the venue for the Northern challenge from Wau to Lae following the recent ethnic clash in Bulolo.
Other teams who have shown interest and indicated to pay in their registration fees for the Northern Challenge are, Bumbu Barbarians of Lae, Unitech Spartans, Madang East, Aiyura, Kainantu, Bulolo and Wau.
Patron and Co-Sponsor of the Competition Chief Peter Ipatas, Bulolo MP Hon Sam Basil and Morobe Governor Hon Kelly Naru will officially launched the 2013-2014 CCIC at Melanesian Hotel on the 20th and 21st of December 2013 at the Lae rugby League ground.
The National Newspaper reports that KUMULS coach Adrian Lam was punched at a night club in Port Moresby last Saturday.
Lam, who was in town to present a report on the Kumuls World Cup campaign to the Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League Board, was apparently hit by an angry fan.
Lam flew back to Sydney the following day but it is not clear whether he reported the assault. Attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.
Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko said he had heard of the attack through social media but had not received a report on the incident.
Word of the attack has been “public knowledge” since Sunday.
Tkatchenko described the incident as disappointing saying fans had no right to attack a coach or anyone for any reason.
He said the incident reflected poorly on the people but also added that Lam should have been more careful.
The PNGRFL is yet to make a statement on the incident.
A Papua New Guinea team has been added to next season's Queensland Intrust Super Cup.
A Papua New Guinea team has been added to next season's Queensland Intrust Super Cup.
A team from Papua New Guinea could be crowned winners of the newly-formed National Championship on NRL Grand Final day after their submission for inclusion into the Queensland Intrust Super Cup was formally accepted at a meeting of all 13 Intrust Super Cup clubs.
To play out of Kokopo north east of Port Moresby in the East New Britain islands, the PNG bid was required to meet strict criteria standards around facilities, security measures and the logistics of travel before it was accepted by the Queensland Rugby League.
The inclusion of a PNG team – whose colours and full name is still to be determined – in addition to the formation of the National Championship that will see the respective winners of the Intrust Super Cup and VB NSW Cup competitions face off on Grand Final day, opens the door for PNG to play on the NRL's greatest stage from 2014.
The PNG national team failed to record a win at Rugby League World Cup 2013 in their pool that included New Zealand, France and Samoa and QRL chief executive officer Robert Moore said their inclusion creates a new pathway for players from PNG to progress through to the NRL.
"It would be a wonderful story to see a home-grown PNG player rise from the junior ranks into the Intrust Super Cup and then the National Rugby League," Moore said.
"At the same time, it provides us with an opportunity to expand into a market with over seven million rugby league fans."
For full details of PNG's inclusion in the Intrust Super Cup and other key announcements visit qrl.com.au
GURIAS coach Michael Marum is the front-runner to coach the Papua New Guinea team in the Queensland Cup.
His appointment was one of the items covered at the PNG Rugby Football League board meeting in Port Moresby at the weekend.
But PNGRFL interim chief executive officer Brad Tassell yesterday declined to make any announcement until next week.
“The announcement of the head coach will be made at a press conference on December 2. A media notification will be issued before the press conference,” he said.
“There was a lot discussed and some decisions made on a range of things. The PNGRFL board will make statements and announcements over the following weeks in regards to the board meeting and future plans.”
When pressed who the head coach would be Tassell replied that “it will be announced at the press conference and he will start immediately”.
However what Tassell did confirm was that the head coach would have full control over the Qld Cup Programme.
“Obvioulsy we will consult with Team Kumul and ensure that there is integration between the program where required, particularly in regards to players, testing, training and international program.
“Mal (Meninga) will no doubt attend games and be there if required to consult but he or Adrian (Lam) are not part of the coaching staff for the Qld Cup Programme.
“The head coach will be appointed to deliver the program and have full control over the PNG QLD Cup Football programme.”
Further details also yet to be announced include the naming rights sponsor for the PNG team, for which a name has yet to adopted.
Tassell at that media conference to announce PNG’s participation in the Q-Cup last month said that players and management would be on attractive packages required of a professional establishment.
Therefore, the willingness to get a call-up into the set-up would be an exciting opportunity many PNG players would be hoping finds them.
LEEDS rugby league club in the Super League Rugby competition in England has adapted a new home in Papua New Guinea thanks to Jesse Joe Nandye
The Kumul utility player did not return from the recent World Cup empty-handed.
He has brought something to give back to his local club, the Mautana Roosters in the Morata off-season competition in the National Capital District (NCD).
Nandye who started his rugby league career with Kafugu Spiders in Goroka’s popular Gahuku off-season competition has been a walk-in player for the Kumuls for the past two World Cups.
He further advanced into playing professional footy in England.
Upon returning from the World Cup, Nandye donated a set of Leeds Rugby League Club jersey’s to his local club and in doing so encouraged the players to take ownership of it.
“It is about giving back to the club and the community you have being playing with who are always at the back of you support you. I believe this will be a morale booster for the boys to do well this season,” he said.
Nandye challenged other fellow Kumuls to go back to their roots and support their clubs where they first played on the road to becoming recognised.
“By doing this, we give them hope to one day following our footsteps by seeing that they also can realise their dreams to becoming a Kumul player and hopefully a better a better life for themselves through self discipline.
“By giving them what little you have and speaking to them, it’s something they will always treasure,” he said.
Mautana club currently has three Digicel Cup representatives in Charlie Simon (Enga Mioks), John Jerry (Port Moresby Vipers) and Karo Kauna Jnr (Gulf Isapeas).
Club team manager Chris Simon said it a huge relief especially when someone donates a new jersey as it is an expensive exercise that we always make sacrifices for.
“We are proud of Jesse as he is one of our own players within the club. It’s a big thing for the club and for the community that it represents,” Simon added.
The National/ PNG Facts
KUMUL Larsen Marape said reports of player dissatisfaction in the World Cup squad was not the issue.
“All those people who organise rugby league in PNG should come and put their heads together and forget about politics and get on with it,” Marape told The National while at a British High Commission-sponsored Equal Playing Fields project on Monday.
He said the coaching was not a problem but it was with the players to pick up their performances.
“The coach (Adrian Lam) gives the orders and we just have to follow it. You know he’s the coach so what he says we just do it. We are just players.
“We didn’t feel good playing out of position but he was the coach so we had to follow his orders.”
Marabe, who played in the front row, said that as players it was their responsibility to listen to the coach and implement the game plan.
Fellow Kumul Richard Kambo said for the senior players, their transition to playing in different positions during their training sessions before the World Cup was easier but the newer players struggled to adjust.
Kambo said the players needed to have a high quality week-in, week-out competition.
“Why not send players overseas? We need a weekly grind against tough competition so that we are competitive in test matches and international games,” Kambo said.
Playing in Digicel Cup is great but we need more tough games every week. Especially like the Q-Cup.”
Kambo, when asked why David Mead was chosen to kick gave a smile, shrugged and said: “I never seen him kick a ball but at the end of the day, it was the coach’s decision and I have no say in that.”
Both men including Kumuls teammate Sebastian Pandia were accorded Ambassadors for the RLAV in the Equal Playing fields Project sponsored by the British High Commission. The National