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No.9 wants PNG to dazzle in RLWC clash

Papua New Guinea's World Cup hopes will be put on the line at their second home of Craven Park on Monday, and hooker Paul Aiton is hoping that being in the shop window can inspire his teammates to put in the required performance.
No.9 wants PNG to dazzle in RLWC clash
by AAP

By Wayne Gardiner

HULL, England, Nov 3 PA - Papua New Guinea's World Cup hopes will be put on the line at their second home of Craven Park on Monday, and hooker Paul Aiton is hoping that being in the shop window can inspire his teammates to put in the required performance.

A narrow 9-8 Group B loss to France last week means that with defending champions New Zealand still to come, PNG realistically need to beat Samoa in order to stay in the running for a top-three qualifying spot.

They will face a Samoan side who blew hot and cold in defeat against New Zealand last week, and will do so knowing they need to be more clinical than they were against France.

Three missed goals cost them on that occasion, as did a failure to turn possession into points, meaning that a number of their impressive players ended up on the losing side.

The likes of Josiah Abavu and Mark Mexico stood out and knowing that Super League clubs are actively scouting for new recruits, further good performances could offer more than just World Cup progression.

"As you could see, the level is high and that was just the one game," hooker Paul Aiton, already on the books of Wakefield and linked with a move to Leeds, said.

"The standard in Papua New Guinea is what it is and it is a big step up to international matches. But we have boys who can rise to the occasion and who did that against France."

The shining example for any PNG players looking to move on is local resident Stanley Gene. An icon at Hull Kingston Rovers, Gene has been synonymous with the East Hull club ever since he was snapped up during the 1995 World Cup.

"We know what they would be able to do if they got over here," Aiton said of his teammates, who are afforded hero status in Hull owing to Gene.

"Stanley Gene is the perfect example of what can happen if you apply yourself and we hope that the other boys can get those chances."

Getting the better of Samoa is the immediate priority, though, and halfback Ray Thompson has no doubt as to what the key to doing that will be.

"We feel that our ball execution has let us down a bit so that is something to work on," the North Queensland utility said.




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