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Meninga praises Hunters

first_imgTeam Kumul head coach Mal Meninga has commended the PNG Hunters Club for a good start in preparing players for the 2017 World Cup and to improve PNG’s ranking.Meninga, who is based in Australia, travels once a month into the country to help out with the Team Kumul program.That program is helping to develop players in the lead up to the World Cup.Meninga said selections for Team Kumul to participate in the World Cup will be done mostly through PNG Hunters and overseas based players.He said Hunters have been very successful but the Intrust Super Cup is only a second tier competition.“It’s a great start, they are doing very well as these are the same players who are going to be playing against international sides not too far down the track.“We need to get our Intrust Cup players playing in the NRL and that’s the next step so at the moment it’s a growth period.“And once we start to get a whole heap of players participating in the top competitions around the world, the better our chances of doing well in the World Cup,” he said.PNG hasn’t got a lot of players playing in the NRL apart from David Mead, James Segeyaro and just recently Albert Wellington and Mark Mexico.Meninga said being involved with the Hunters is a fantastic experience and they get this week in week out rugby league competition however, still not at the level where they need to be to play on the world stage.He said PNG still has some developing to do in order to compete against England, Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Island teams who have NRL players going back and playing for their national teams.“That is a challenge for us because although the Hunters are initially doing well in the Intrust Cup, they’re probably not at the level we need to be compared to Australia and at a world stage.“We need the majority of our players to be part of overseas competitions.“If we look at Samoa and Fiji, most of their 22 man squad who played in the 2013 World Cup were playing in the Australian NRL or English Super League and PNG had about six players,” he said.Meninga said that’s the difference at the moment but the PNG Hunters Club is a valuable asset giving the players more experience.He said hopefully the talent scouts will recognize that and give them more opportunity in the Australian NRL or English Super League because that’s where we need our national players.He said that Hunters Club is a stepping stone and we need them playing on the world stage in the biggest competitions.last_img

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