Aiton to lead PNG against PM's XIII - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aiton to lead PNG against PM's XIII

By Ilya Gridneff 21/09/2010 01:37:10 PM Comments (0)

Incoming Papua New Guinea coach Stanley Gene has named Cronulla hooker Paul Aiton as captain for Sunday's annual rugby league clash against the Prime Minister's XIII in Port Moresby.

The Kumuls will use the match against the Australians as the start of preparations for next month's Four Nations tournament, which will also mark UK-based journeyman Gene's coaching debut.

Gene will replace former Queensland Origin representative Adrian Lam, who this week quit amid infighting and personality clashes.

Gene enjoys legend status in PNG rugby league circles, the 37-year-old is currently playing for Halifax in the UK having previously played for Hull KR, Huddersfield Giants and Bradford Bulls.

Though without coaching experience, he has represented PNG in three league World Cups and is confident of a good showing on Sunday at Lloyd Robson oval.

"At the end of the day, I want players who can really have a go for the team," he said.

"We might not have all our best players here but this is an opportunity for the fellows coming in to show us what they have.

"I want them to believe in themselves and go into the game with the right attitude.

"I'm sure we can play well against Australia."

PNG will rely on the likes of Penrith lower-grader James Nightingale, UK-based Hunslet Hawks Michael Mark, Queensland Cup rookie Desmond Mok, Northern Pride's Rod Griffin, New Zealand-based Joe Pombo and Gold Coast Toyota Cup back Ryan Tongia.

Star outside back David Mead is unavailable for selection after the dynamic Gold Coast Titan fractured his foot in June, ruling him out for five months.

The PM's XIII beat PNG 42-18 last year, the annual clash famed for its frenzied atmosphere both on and off the field.

PNG qualified for the Four Nations after winning last year's Pacific Cup, but will have a massive challenge when they come up against the might of Australia, New Zealand and England.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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