PNG will come out swinging: Learoyd-Lahrs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

PNG will come out swinging: Learoyd-Lahrs

By Wayne Heming and Jim Morton 21/10/2010 07:16:47 PM Comments (0)

Tom Learoyd-Lahrs might dwarf his Papua New Guinea rivals, but the Australian rugby league forward has warned the Kumuls' passion and fierceness makes them capable of overcoming any size difference.

Learoyd-Lahrs, who stands at a towering 194cm, was astounded by the improvements made by the Kumuls after playing against them last year for the Prime Minister's side in PNG - and predicted they will shock many in Sunday's Four Nations opener at Parramatta Stadium.

"I played them three years prior to that and the progress they've made in that three years was phenomenal," praised the monster Canberra prop, despite bookmakers offering punters up to 60 points start for PNG.

"They were easily a 40-point better football side than the team we played three years earlier."

The Four Nations opener will see dual international Lote Tuqiri create history as the first code-crosser to play Test rugby league for Australia a second time, after returning from rugby union this season under Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens at the Wests Tigers.

While Tuqiri is hoping to cause carnage, Learoyd-Lahrs talked up the tenacity and ball skills of the Kumuls, warning they would "come out swinging" against raging favourites Australia.

"There'll be a few of them (swinging arms)," he said.

"They're physical, that's the way they play. They're renowned for it.

"I've played up there a couple of times and they do that. They like to get stuck in and the way they've been brought up and the society they live in you've got to be tough and that's how they play their footy.

"I think you'd be ignorant if you didn't expect to get a couple of solid shots put on you."

Learoyd-Lahrs said playing Australia first up provided the tournament underdogs with an opportunity to make an early statement.

"They've got to play two games after us and the way they play in this game will set the precedent for their whole tournament," he said.

"They'll want England and New Zealand to be looking on and thinking `we've got to play these guys in a few weeks'."

Fijian-born Tuqiri, 31, will play his sixth league Test and his first for Australia since 2002 after nudging out St George Illawarra star Darius Boyd for one of the wing spots.

Along with Brent Tate, Willie Tonga, Nate Myles and Learoyd-Lahrs - he's one of five new faces in Sheens' team following Australia's most recent 12-8 Test success over New Zealand in May.

Queensland Origin players fill 10 of Sheens' starting 13 spots.

Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk partners Darren Lockyer in the halves for injured No.7 Johnathan Thurston, while Newcastle captain Kurt Gidley was included on a six-man bench as the utility player.

Queensland back-rower Myles was selected in the front-row, pushing Maroons team-mate David Shillington to the bench.

Matt Scott and Clive Churchill medal winner Boyd are the players likely to drop off the extended bench and miss the Test.

The Kangaroos squad is: Billy Slater, Brett Morris, Brent Tate, Willie Tonga, Lote Tuqiri, Darren Lockyer (c), Cooper Cronk, Paul Gallen, Sam Thaiday, Luke Lewis, Petero Civoniceva, Cameron Smith, Nate Myles. Reserves: David Shillington, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Anthony Watmough, Kurt Gidley, Darius Boyd, Matt Scott (two to be omitted).

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news