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Page last updated at 10:47 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 11:47 UK

PNG vow to upset World Cup odds

Stanley Gene
Hull KR veteran Stanley Gene has been included in the PNG squad

Papua New Guinea coach Adrian Lam says his team can cause a surprise at the World Cup, despite having Australia, New Zealand and England in their pool.

Lam's team play England on 25 October before taking on favourites Australia and the Kiwis.

With three teams from Pool A qualifying for the semi-finals, many have already written off the Kumuls' chances.

"Don't worry about England, New Zealand and Australia. We've a plan and the boys will play to that plan," said Lam.

"Our first clash is against England, and we will be preparing well for that and we are going to give them a game that PNG will be proud of."

Former Wigan scrum-half Lam, speaking to the Sydney Roosters website, added: "After the tour of France and Wales last year, the Prime Minister's XIII and Origin games, I have a game plan which the boys that were selected will carry out."

Papua New Guinea's squad boasts NRL players Neville Costigan, Paul Aiton and Keith Peters and promising youngsters Tu'u Maori, Jay Aston and David Moore.


The squad is further strengthened by the inclusion of Hull KR veterans Makali Aizue and Stanley Gene and captain John Wilshere, who helped Salford to the National League title this year.

But it would still be one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history if Papua New Guinea - the only country to have rugby league as its national sport - were to qualify for the last four.

The Kumuls were initially unhappy about the format for the tournament, and even threatened to withdraw after accusing organisers of sacrificing Papua New Guinea's hopes in order to satisfy TV audiences.

PNG: Paul Aiton (Penrith Panthers), Makai Aizue (Hull KR), Jay Aston (Melbourne Storm), Jason Chan (Windsor Wolves), Neville Costigan (Canberra Raiders), Trevor Exton (Ipswich), Stanley Gene (Hull KR), Rod Griffin (Northern Pride), George Kepa (Brisbane Norths), Nickson Kolo (Masta Mark Rangers), Anton Kui (Bingtangor Lahanis), Tuu Maori (Sydney Roosters), Larsen Marabe (Agmark Guiras), George Moni (M & J Muruks), David Moore (Gold Coast Titans), James Nightingale (Penrith Panthers), Jessie Joe Parker (Masta Mark Rangers), Keith Peters (Penrith Panthers), Rodney Pora (M & J Muruks), Kevin Prior (Wentworthville), Nicko Slain (Goroka Lahanis), Charlie Wabo (M & J Muruks), John Wilshere (Salford Reds), Menzie Yere (Agmark Guiras).

see also
Wilshere handed Kumuls captaincy
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Australia recall Tupou from Tonga
09 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Kiwi Webb forced out of World Cup
08 Oct 08 |  Rugby League

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