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Adrian Lam, Kumuls & the RL World Cup

Lam_Adrian The Rugby League World Cup is nigh and the Papua New Guinea Kumuls – facing daunting appointments with England (Saturday 25 October), New Zealand (Saturday 1 November) and Australia (Sunday 9 November) – say they're ready to fly. Gimanama Crowdy spoke with PNG coach Adrian Lam [left] about the Kumuls prospects.

Gima - How do you rank the PNG Kumuls amongst the other Pacific teams?

Adrian - We’ve improved so much over the past two years as a playing nation; it’s incredible. We’re as good as any, which is a credit to our local SP Cup competition that our 24-man World Cup squad has more resident players than anyone in the world.

G - Why are Australia, New Zealand and England in the same pool?

A – We were told that they didn't want anyone else to be in that pool apart from PNG because there wouldn't be blow out scores. We argued that the pool was unfair but since then we’ve accepted it and have knuckled down to prove everyone wrong that the pool is far from decided on who will go through.

G – How will you stay alive in this 'Pool of Death'?

A - We need to have an undying belief in each other. And we must be fully committed to the team. We need to have an uncompromising attack and defence and maintain the PNG fighting power till the end of the game.

G – How would you summarise the calibre of the local and overseas players in the PNG team?

A - I think the squad will be very competitive. It has a good mixture of internationals and resident players. Last year I created the ‘PNG Origin' game, played once a year, where we pick an international team from outside PNG and fly them to PNG for the game. The first time this game was played in 2007, the internationals won 29-28 after it was all locked up at fulltime 28 all.

G - What would you like to say to Papua New Guineans living in Australia?

A – We’re excited to see you and very happy you’re getting behind the team. Get out to all our games and scream the house down. I know a lot of family of myself and all the players are going so it should be unbelievable.

G - Finally, what thoughts do you have about the development of PNG rugby league?

A – I’m right behind the PNG juniors and the new development programs set up to advance our future stars. We have the largest and fastest growing schoolboy numbers in the world and I feel that’s where can improve in the future.

The Kumuls games will be played in Townsville (England and Australia) and on the Gold Coast (New Zealand). Before the first game against England there’ll be a Meet the Kumuls dinner in Townsville on Tuesday 21 October – organised by the local PNG wantok community. Tickets are $60 per head or $500 for a table of ten. Contact this blog if you’re interested.

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