By REG RENAGI
The Four Nations rugby league tournament is all but over for
But it’s still a good learning curve for PNG’s pride: the ‘Kumuls’.
The Kumuls must from here on drastically lift up their game standards if PNG expects to do far better than at present in future international league competition.
With a 42 – 0 beating by the Aussie Kangaroos in their first match of the tournament, and last weekend’s canning by the New Zealand Kiwis with a record breaking 76 – 12 score, the Kumuls have no other choice but must beat the ‘Poms’ this weekend.
After the Kumuls’ loss to the Kiwis, PNG captain Paul Aiton said: "We're very disappointed. We just missed something that makes us PNG."
But whatever it is, that ‘elusive something’ better be found quickly if PNG don’t want to end up as “wooden - spooners” against an expected spirited English side.
Like PNG, the Poms lost their last two tough encounters with the Aussies and Kiwis and are expecting a very physical battle in ‘a do or die’ match, with their respective country’s pride riding on their big shoulders.
However, coach and former Hull KR star in
PNG fans also share some of
But fingers crossed, we all are quietly confident for PNG to beat
So with just a few days to go before playing this weekend, many upset fans in recent days are now calling for the sacking of the entire management team, including coach; Gene.
I don’t blame them. Die-hard fans in league-crazy PNG are understandably upset over the last two straight losses.
These are still early days. But after the tournament we must do a good ‘post-mortem’ and no doubt critics here and abroad will have their say. This will be good for the code.
PNG league management must find out what we did wrong, and what we can do now to either avoid; or minimise similar mistakes in future.
The four nation rugby league competition provides many good lessons for the PNG Kumuls and its management; and those who administer the code back home.
The two-year tournament will be a regular international meet. It’s an important opportunity where PNG’s rugby league reputation and credibility will always be tested for the world to see.
Here is what we must do from here on: Firstly, regardless of our loss this time, PNG must now plan better for the future.
This is important if we are to fare a little better than in the previous two weekends playing against league’s two best teams in the Southern Hemisphere.
Secondly, the Kumuls management must now treat all future international matches as an occasion not to be missed.
Thirdly, PNG will not only be pitted against some of the best teams from strong rugby league playing nations, but learn valuable lessons required to improve future Kumuls performance standards.
Fourthly, the Kumul management team must also closely observe and cleverly use new game tricks against countries like
This may be one good way to see some big improvements in the Kumuls’ overall match-performance to be potential “giant killers” in future.
So with the exception of the Poms, the ‘Kangaroos’ and ‘Kiwis’ can one day be beaten like any other team.
This will only happen if the Kumuls can work out both the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents well before playing them.
PNG league strategic planners must work hard to capitalise on them and in particular develop special tactics for playing each of the other three countries, with their own distinct styles of play.
The Kumuls management has no real excuses here. Rugby League has been played in PNG for some half century.
PNG league administration by now should develop a good capacity, and depth of managing and playing the code at somewhat similar levels as
The Admirals’ money is on the Kumuls. Go Kumuls!