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Have the PNG Kumuls come off age?

By Andrew Dupre
Freelance Writer

The PNG Kumuls’ 28-10 drubbing of Great Britain Lions at the National Football Stadium (NFS) was a sweet revenge to the Lions' 1991 56-4 thrashing at Central Park Stadium, England.
Not only will this be a sweet revenge but the game should fittingly go down in the history books of the Kumuls as one of their best contemporary games given advent in sports technology and varied rules.
Since the two country’s inaugural Test match in 1975, the Kumuls have kept their nose infront just once, defeating the Lions 20-18 at Goroka in 1990.
With the exception of Australia, the Kumuls have beaten every other rugby league playing nation with reasonable hidings. The Fiji Batis now boasting NRL players were in 2009 hammered 64-10 in Port Moresby, and beaten convincingly last year adding to a string of other convincing defeats.
The recent one at Christchurch, New Zealand had many fans on their toes. It was an exhibition donned with great enthusiasm and stylish rugby league. A win was inevitable but swayed only just to what many say – inconsistencies by match officials…… 
Yet, in the modern league era, the Kumuls have demonstrated to every rugby league playing nation that they have come a long way by putting up a razzle-dazzle thriller against a star studded and defensive English outfit coached by one of the best mentors in the game.
Down 10-nil, the Kumuls planted the ball under the sticks with 10 seconds ticking to the half the time hooter through a clever interchange option by the coach. It was no look back in the second stanza as they penetrated the brick-wall English defence with probing kicks and kept them scoreless.
Papua New Guineans first came into contact with rugby league  in the 1930s during the gold rush. The game being founded in England in 1895 was introduced by miners and reintroduced by Australian soldiers after the Second World War and formally grounded in 1949 but remained a Caucasian sport until Senior Statesman; Sir John Kaputin wrestled one of the jerseys from his white friends.
The game compelled great following from the 60s on wards. PNGeans, naturally tough with their muscular frames, loved the physical onslaught of the game hence every rugby league day after Kaputin’s game, there was increased John Kaputins out on the field, getting a taste of the toughest body contact game on the planet.
The sport has developed to become a family and peer gossip culminating to broken homes and frenzies of varying magnitude. It is deeply entrenched with supports often getting by the way side but improved performances by the national side in the recent past is symbolic of all the efforts the country exerted over the years.
Kumuls exports are now running onto almost every rugby league playing pitch in the world from the Pacific to Europe – some of them highly paid. A good number of these exports returned to the country last week and lined their opponents immaculately, giving rugby league mad PNGeans a shy of relief.
Whether the Kumuls have come off age to be a lethal threat remains to be seen in the coming fixtures and beyond but the upped performances and admittance by their opponents of them being the toughest team to compete against is a natural honour that should, coupled with modern injections, give the Kumuls that added starch.
And, as a former rugby league player….. when the going gets tough with brick-wall defences on show, and you still are high in stamina, what do you do? Anyway, well done the Kumuls….hats off to Michael Marum for your smart interchange options.

Writer is former player & Freelance Writer
Can be reached on FB or  email: andrewdupre444@mail

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