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PNG Kumuls Player Profiles

The PNG Gas Kumuls squad to face the Australian Kangaroos on Sunday 7th October at Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby.
PNG Kumuls Player Profiles
by NRL

The PNG Gas Kumuls squad to face the Australian Kangaroos on Sunday 7th October at Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby.

Eddie Aila (Wynnum Seagulls, 7 tests)
A former schoolboy rugby union star, Aila made the switch to league only a few years ago and he has had imediate success in game. A speedy winger for the Wynnum club in Brisbane, Aila has an abundance of talent which hasn't really been brought to the surface as yet.Very skillful and will probably play in the centres, a position he held for the intire World Cup last year.

Mikali Aizue (Goroka Lahanis, 8 tests)
The strong running Front Rower will provide the Kumuls with much needed go foward. Will probably start from the bench and it will be his ability to add impact when he takes the field that will determine whether PNG can hold the Aussies in the middle of the ruck. Is an experienced campaigner and has lead the Lahanis all year.

Marcus Bai (Melbourne Storm, 12 tests)
The Melbourne based superstar is a key to the Kumuls side. His mere presence in Port Moresby on Sunday will be enough to give not only his teammates confidence, but also the huge crowd will worship his every move. Since making his test debut in 1995 Bai has become one of the leading wingers in the game and his ability to assist the fowards will be invaluable.

Stanley Gene (Huddersfield Giants, 9 tests)
Missed last years game against the Aussies in Townsville but was an integeral member of the Kumuls highly successful World Cup bid. With the absence of Adrian Lam, who is still on club duties for Wigan, Gene will have to become the onfield leader and will need to direct play around the field. Has a great short kicking game and is one of many potential match winners in the PNG side.

Raymond Karl (Enga Mioks, 14 tests)
A former Sydney Roosters lower grader, Karl has enough grit to match it with any front rower on his day. Is coming towards the end of his career and a win against the Aussies would be a memorable achievement to look back on when he retires. Lead the Enga Mioks to the SP Cup title in 2000 and will provide the Kumuls with plenty of go foward.

Alex Krewanty (6 tests)
The nephew of fomer PNG rugby league great of the early eighties Arnold Krewanty, Alex has the potential to be as good if not better than his illustrious uncle. Extremely quick and has the potential to break the line at will almost. Can cover a range of positions in the backline, but should fill either the fullback or centre role. With the absence of David Buko, the regular custodian currently playing in France, Krewanty has the oportunity to make a real claim for the position on a more permanent basis.

Chris Lome (Port Moresby Vipers, 4 tests)
A late inclusion into the sqaud in place of Bruce Mamando, Lome has a wealth of experience in the PNG domestic competition, the SP Cup, and should relish the opportunity to return to the international arena after a 2 year absence. A hardworking backrower will tackle and run tirelesly all day.

Michael Marum (Rabual Gurias, 3 tests)
Could be a surprise choice for the captaincy job with the absence of Adrian Lam and if so would do a great job for his country. Will work non stop from his hooker position and will definitely add some sting in defence to the middle of the ruck. Hasn't played many test matches for the Kumuls but he is a leading light in the SP Cup.

Mark Mom (East Coast Tigers, 12 tests)
Captained the Kumuls in their mid season games against the touring French and did an outstanding job. Mom is a quicksilver halfback who will pester the Australian defence all day with his darting runs. Plays hooker for his club side the East Coast Tigers, a role he played in the WC, so he definitely wont be a liability in defence. Leads more by his actions than by words and he will add lend plenty of experience to the younger halves in the squad in the lead up to the game.

Duncan Nawaii (Wynnum Seagulls, 7 tests)
A big backrower, Nawaii will work mainly as a hit up merchant. Is sometimes suspect in defence and expect him to camp on the right hand side of the field from where he may prove to be a handful on the edges of the ruck. Has started in the second row in the Kumuls last 6 test matches and he will be desperatly keen for another shot at the Aussies after he made his debut in the 82-0 masacre in Townsville last year as a substitute.

Tom O'Reilly (Warrington Wolves, 7 tests)
Has just recently signed a contract with the Warrington Wolves in England, which will make him the third Kumul international to ply their trade in the Old Dart, following Adrian Lam and Stanley Gene. Will start from the lock position no doubt, O'Rielly has an abundance of experience behind him and he will act as the major organiser of the Kumul pack. Doesn't posses any outstanding attributes but is more than capable of holding his own against the best in the world.

Chris Purkikili (Rabual Gurias, 3 tests)
A relatively newcomer to the Kumul test side Purkikili has great pace and is also extremely skillful. Act's more as a ballplaying centre in preference to the more stereotypical PNG centre's role, which is to run 1000 miles per hour into the line. Many are tipping Purkikili for a huge big future in the national side and at 25 still has another 5-6 years left to play for the Kumuls.

Stanley Tapend (Enga Mioks, 2 tests)
Made his test debut for the Kumuls in the number 6 jersey this year against France and is rated among the best young players in PNG by many. His speed, evasion and kicking skills have seen him become one of the most remarkable players on the domestic front. He posses a great ability to seek out tries from anywhere and then has the ability to kick the goals. Will act as a back up for Mom and Gene in the halves and may also be used as a fullback if needed.

Walter Vagaia (Goroka Lahanis, Debutaunt)
A hardworking local who could be classed as an unknown quality. Will make his test debut this weekend and will come off the bench. Vagaia will have the same privlage as Duncan Nawaii did last year in playing Australia in his forst test match but for Vagaia he will be hoping the result is vastly different.

John Waka (Rabual Gurias, 3 tests)
Made his return to international rugby league in the second game of this years series against France after showing selectors that he still had the necessary attributes to be competitive at that level. An honest toiler from the Rabual provence, Waka will be hell bent on proving his toughness in front of his own people and he will not take a backward step.

David Westley (Parramatta Eels, 5 tests)
Has had a frustrating year plagued by injuries but will want to make sure he performs well against the all conquering Aussies. Currently has an injury cloud over him for the test but looks like playing at this stage. Westley will give the PNG pack a well timed boost if he can play and his presence in the front row will help the likes of Karl and Waka go about their jobs effectively. Could be the key to whether PNG are competitve or not.

John Wilshere (East Coast Tigers, 11 tests)
A pointscoring machine. Wilshere has kicked PNG to many memorable victories over the last few years and he is also decepively quick for the size of him. A tall, rangy winger, he showed at last years WC just what it meant to him to represent his country by constantly being the most passionate player in the squad. If the scores are close, Wilshere could well be the man to win the Kumuls the game.

Alfred Sogoro (Central Comets, 8 tests)
Hard hitting centre/wing who is unlucky to miss out on a spot in the team. Hasn't had a great year for the Comets but is still proven at this level. Played in the 2 tests against France earlier in the year.

Nigel Hukula (Goroka Lahains, 0 tests)
A young foward from the Lahanis, made terrific progress throughout the year and is very unlucky to miss after Bruce Mamando pulled out.

Komb Rumints (Rabual Gurias, 0 tests)
Another foward who had a tremendous year on the domestic front and his inclusion in the squad is testemant to his hard work. Will gain great experience from training with players like Westley, Gene and Bai.

COACH: Bob Bennett
Brother of Brisbane Broncos and Queensland coach Wayne, Bob Benett has coached the Kumuls for the last 6-7 years. He will ask his players to be dedicated to the cause and will concentrate mainly on his sides defensive patterns in the lead up to the test. Has had little time to get his entire sqaud togther but the majority of the team has been playing together for a few years now so they should have little trouble combining well.

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