We’re not sure exactly how many times the PNG Prime Minister XIII have played against their Australian counterparts but this weekend will see both teams going head to head at the Sir John Guise Stadium. As with anything to do with an Australian rugby league team or player, you can expect the usually wild crowd to get even wilder this Sunday.
Australia are the obvious favorites going into this match but the flare and excitement of a PNG attack or that massive bone crunching tackle will no doubt ignite the crowd in chanting “Kumuls, Kumuls”.
Papua New Guinea have never beaten the Australian in this game but the closest PNG got to was a draw. In fact, that match was an exciting one under very wet conditions. St. George ace centre Mark Gasnier had the ball in hand and was on his way to ground the ball in the PNG tryline when PNG captain Keith Peters made a try saving tackle which resulted in Gasnier spilling the ball over the line. And then there was a huge uproar from the crowd once again chanting “Kumuls, Kumuls”.
Now this match is set to be even more exciting for a number of reasons. The first being the James Segeyaro saga which has topped the headlines in social media both in support of James and those calling him some not so pleasant names. The fact is, Segeyaro is a super star in many ways. For those who understand his upbringing and know how he has taken the NRL by storm will know that the Penrith hooker deserves to be in the Australian team. Most of all, his decision to play whatever team he decides is basically his choice and should be respected.
The other reason why this match is more exciting than those before it is the selection of players in the PNG team. Most of the players in the PNG side have been selected from the semi-professional local competition the Digicel Cup. To get these locals together and play against a team of world class rugby league players is certainly a very challenging task but that’s basically what is before them – a challenge.
Local Snax Tigers coach Stanley Tepend will be calling the shots from the bench and his selection as the coach is a positive sign for the code in the country. It looks to be a grooming process for PNG rugby league and no doubt this will be a learning experience for Stan. He has done well with the Snax Tigers and hopefully he can follow the footsteps of PNG top coach Michael Marum.
The other good thing about this match is that it promotes a social awareness campaign on HIV and also domestic violence.
We’ll be chanting “Kumuls, Kumuls” and we hope you do too. But, it’s going to be another Kangaroos victory.
Here are some pics of the Kumuls we’ve taken from previous years.