Papua New Guinea coach Michael Marum has dedicated their 26-14 victory over Fiji at Campbelltown Stadium to the late former player Kato Ottio.
The former Canberra Raiders winger passed away in January after suffering heat stroke following a training session in Port Moresby.
The Kumuls piled on four first-half tries to set up a comfortable win and keep their healthy recent international record intact.
“It gave us a bit more motivation to go out there and do well for the country and for the family of Kato,” Marum said after the game.
“It was a great team effort today. They have a strong side and we knew it was going to be tough.
“We had a really great first half, putting on a few points there, and our defensive effort in the second half was really outstanding.”
Sydney Roosters squad member Lachlan Lam stood out in the halves in his second stint with the Kumuls side following a man-of-the-match performance at the World Cup on debut in 2017.
The five-eighths’ father and former PNG coach Adrian Lam joined the Kumuls side in camp during the week to give the team some advice and wisdom in the lead up to Saturday afternoon’s match.
“We were lucky to have his dad come along,” Marum said of Lam.
“We invited him to training to come and speak to the whole squad and share his experiences.”
Marum said he was impressed with Lam’s performance and expected the rookie to be a part of the international team for the next decade.
“His performance tonight was outstanding,” Marum said.
“He has taking up more of a leadership role, he directs traffic in the place which is good for a young kid to do.
“He’s got a bit more work to do with his defence, but he’ll be a long-time player for us and hopefully he gets into the NRL in the future.”
Lam was thrilled with his first victory for the Kumuls in Australia.
“When I was called up to play in this game I was over the moon,” Lam told NRL.com.
“I was a bit more confident in my role in the team coming into this game because I was in that start position, which I didn’t have in the World Cup.
“The boys showed a lot of faith in me, they were getting around me all week telling me just do your job and we’ll win the game.
“Their support drives us, we love our country and we love our people.”
Source Name: NRL