Kumuls aiming to boost their NRL cause - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kumuls aiming to boost their NRL cause

By Wayne Heming 28/10/2008 08:53:30 PM Comments (0)

Rugby league movers PNG could continue to gain NRL momentum in the clash with New Zealand at the weekend after Australian legend Mal Meninga told officials they were the game's sleeping giant.

PNG's bold display against England in it's World Cup opener may have surprised many, but not Meninga, who believes the flamboyant Kumuls should be taken seriously and considered down the track for a place in the NRL.

As Australia's most decorated Test player, and the country's greatest point scorer, Meninga's backing this week is timely with Papua New Guinea fans rejoicing over their performance at the weekend - even though they lost.

"They were very happy, exceptionally happy up there," said PNG coach and former star player Adrian Lam.

"The mentality of the PNG supporters and the people up there is that you have a go - whether you win or lose, they're happy with that.

"We've been getting a lot of e-mails from up there and they were all hoping at half time (16-12) there may have been a public holiday coming on Monday."

Lam admitted PNG still had a long way to go before it could even think about playing in the NRL.

"It's a nice idea to float but we've got some steps to take along the way such as getting into the Queensland State League first." he said after Meninga gave his backing to the plan.

"I know the (PNG) government is behind it and I hope they can get more behind the national team before some other big idea comes along.

"(This tournament) is an opportunity to show the world we can compete at the top level and that one day maybe beat the top three teams.

"I know we've got a financial backer who is willing to pay whatever it costs and we've got all our mining and mineral companies willing to back the country.

"That's not the issue, the issue is our infrastructure.

"I think they're looking at 2015 which is a long way away and we've got a little steps to take before we get to that."

Upsetting New Zealand at Skilled Stadium on Saturday night would fast track things considerably.

Tour captain John Wilshere warned everything could come crushing down if his players didn't back up from last weekend's performance against the Kiwis.

"I was very proud of their performance (against England) and the country would be very happy with the boys," said the Salford Reds utility back.

"But we can't just be happy with that performance. As well as everyone played we haven't achieved a win yet.

"We not only have to go out there and back that performance up but go out and secure a win."

PNG will have to do that without Rangers utility Jessie Joe Parker who required several stitches to a deep cut above his eye suffered in the 32-22 loss to England.

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