The English trailed the Kumuls 16-12 at halftime and were heading for an embarrassing first-up loss before rallying in the second half for a six tries to four victory in tropical conditions in northern
Leeds Rhinos winger Lee Smith scored a hattrick of tries on debut, two of them in the opening half as
The fourth finishing team in the pool is eliminated and the pressure is now on PNG to upset either the Kiwis or the Kangaroos to have a hope of playing in the semi-finals of the 10-team tournament.
St Helens winger Ade Gardner scored twice with
The Kumuls' tries came from Penrith hooker Paul Aiton, Jason Chan, Rod Griffin and George Kepa, with skipper and Salford Reds' fullback John Wilshere landing three goals.
PNG were unable to maintain their intensity in the second half, although Aiton ended the English second-half domination by scoring a consolation try in the 75th minute.
The Kumuls head to the Gold Coast to try and stay alive against the Kiwis next Saturday.