Sport: PNG Hunters expected to dominate Kumuls World Cup squad

1:14 pm on 4 October 2017

The Papua New Guinea Hunters are expected to provide the biggest contingent of players in the Kumuls Rugby League World Cup squad, which gets announced in Port Moresby today.

Head coach Michael Marum led the Hunters to their maiden Queensland Cup title 10 days ago before the PNG club were outclassed by Penrith in the NRL State Championship last weekend.

10 Hunters players featured in the Kumuls 32-22 victory over Cook Islands in the annual Pacific Rugby League Test in May, while centre Willie Minoga was selected in the initial squad before being ruled out through suspension.

The PNG Kumuls celebrate beating the Cook Islands.

The PNG Kumuls celebrate beating the Cook Islands. Photo: Facebook / PNG Kumuls

Marum is also expected to call on a handful of established NRL players such as Brisbane Broncos utility David Mead, Canberra Raiders hooker Kurt Baptiste and Cronulla rake James Segeyaro.

He said the full squad will spend six days in camp in Port Moresby before travelling to Fiji for the international tri-series agains the Bati and World Champion Kangaroos.

"We'll have to work extra hard again in the next five-six weeks preparing for the national duty," he said.

"Thursday the World Cup squad gets back into camp so the players that are just finishing off a plane they'll be given time up.

"They'll still be in camp but just not basically doing any training or stuff like that so they're fresh enough again for anotherbig three games coming up".

PNG Hunters and Kumuls coach Michael Marum.

PNG Hunters and Kumuls coach Michael Marum. Photo: PNG Rugby League

Mr Marum said it was an exciting time for rugby league in Papua New Guinea, with the Kumuls World Cup pool matches against Wales, Ireland and the United States being played at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby from 28 October.

"To see us get this far and finish the season and also get the home games up there, three pool games, it's really good for the country and also rugby league the code back in PNG".

PNG are the first Pacific nation to announce their World Cup squad, with Tonga to follow suit on Thursday.

However Mate Ma'a coach Kristian Woolf will have to do without NRL Premiership winning second-rower Felise Kaufusi.

The 25 year-old represented Tonga in the past three Pacific Tests but has been named in the Kangaroos squad for the World Cup, alongside another former Mate Ma'a representative, Andrew Fifita.

Melbourne Storm celebrate their NRL Grand Final win.

Melbourne Storm celebrate their NRL Grand Final win. Photo: Photosport