Papua New Guinea rugby league coach Michael Marum says the home series against the England Knights has been a valuable experience as the teams looks ahead to the 2021 World Cup.
The Kumuls bounced back from a first-up defeat in Lae to with a come-from-behind 32-22 victory in Port Moresby on Saturday, to tie the series 1-1.
The visitors scored two early tries to lead 12- 0 inside 15 minutes and trailed by six points at half-time before finishing strongly to outscore the English three tries to one in the second half.
Halfback Watson Boas was influential for the home side, making an early line-break, providing the final pass for Nixon Putt and Justin Olam's tries and adding 12 points with the boot, although he was sent to the sin-bin midway through the second half following a scuffle with England five eighth Declan Patton.
Former North Queensland Cowboys playmaker Kyle Laybutt also set up a try for Nene Macdonald in the second half and Michael Marum said the match was another opportunity for the Kumuls to build for the future.
"We finished off on a good note there with a win. We had to fight hard in the second half to get that victory because it was a pretty tough game against the Knights," he said.
"It was important for us to have a look at our players moving forward: We had a couple of new players that came into the side and also some old players.
"So really important for us now is the group going forward, looking at the next World Cup, we get our combinations right and get a good mixture of players that can probably play at a higher level."
Michael Marum said PNGRFL Chair Sandis Tasaka and CEO Reatau Rau are currenlty in England for meetings and hopefully the Kumuls international schedule for 2019 and beyond will be known in the months to come.