Sport: Coach excited by potential of PNG Queensland Cup team
Coach of Papua New Guinea's Queensland Cup team looking forward to new challenge and the chance to further develop the sport.
The coach of Papua New Guinea's entry into the Queensland Cup rugby league competition admits the team is starting behind schedule but says they will be competitive.
PNG was confirmed as one of two expansion teams last week, having first been given conditional approval in August.
Longtime Agmark Gurias mentor and PNG Kumuls assistant coach Michael Marum will take charge of the team in their inaugural season.
He told Vinnie Wylie it's an exciting step forward for him and the sport in PNG.
MICHAEL MARUM: I've always been coaching the PNG local sides here, and I feel I need to improve a bit on my coaching again. This is where probably I'll have to run a few more teams through the guys that are supporting me.
VINNIE WYLIE: March 1st, it's not that far away - is that going to be a bit of a rush?
MM: Yeah, because all the players are here now. Within the next three weeks we have to come up with a final squad, and then those are the guys that we'll have to work with again before we play our first two trial games here.
VW: All the players for this team, for the PNG entry into the Queensland Super Entrust Cup, there, is it all just locally based players?
MM: Yeah, all our players are locally based from different competitions. I think the championships that were done towards the end of this year has got some players in it. Schoolboys rugby league has got a squad, as well, and also players from the Queensland Super Entrust Cup competition.
VW: How many Kumuls are in the squad there, Michael?
MM: Current Kumuls that went away to the World Cup, probably around 12 players. And then the other guys have also played in Kumul trial games before we went away to the World Cup also, included.
VW: What sort of an impact do you think having this team play 26 rounds plus potentially the finals on a regular basis will have on the sport?
MM: I think it's going to create big interest here. I think we can't wait to have that first home game. Probably we'll have good support for that and I think there's a lot of talk around the country, as well.
VW: It's been a tough four or five years as people stay with PNG rugby league, and you've got the new board and things are stepping forward with that five-year plan with Adrian and Mal. I think this is another really big plank of that to help bring the game forward. It must be exciting to bring those guys through and help get them up to that standard, as well.
MM: We just have to be positive about the whole thing. I think they've been working closely with Mal and Adrian in making sure we don't do things separately. And that's one of the things we'll have to sit down again and discuss and make sure we've got that understanding.
VW: What do you think the team is capable of in its first season? You've got to start your camps and all that, but what do you think would be a realistic goal for you guys in your first year?
MM: We're going to play our best, do our best during all our games. We'll probably just concentrate on working out and turning up and playing. And the results probably will come later. But the first three games, just prepare the boys as much as we can and allow them to go and play. And we know once we put them through proper training and everything else that they'll probably give the result we want.
VW: The PNG team will play their home matches at Kokopo, with their first trial match against the Northern Pride in February and their competition debut away to the Redcliffe Dolphins on March the 2nd.
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