Sport: New PNG league coach backed to handle dual roles
PNG Hunters rugby league coach Michael Marum is now in charge of the national team as well.
Papua New Guinea Rugby League is confident Michael Marum can juggle the demands of both the PNG Hunters and Kumuls coaching roles.
The 42-year-old has been appointed coach of the PNG national team for the Pacific Test in May and is being backed to secure the job on a full-time basis through to next year's World Cup.
The Hunters kick off their 2016 Queensland Cup campaign this weekend and PNGRFL Chief Executive Officer, Bob Cutmore, told Vinnie Wylie he has no doubt Marum can handle the increased responsibility.
BOB CUTMORE: It's a very very well deserved appointment. Michael's been an understudy now - with the old bridesmaid tag could be put to him - since 2008 and he won Queensland [Cup] coach of the year last year.
VINNIE WYLIE: At this stage is it just for the May test or this ongoing?
BC: No, it will be just for the May test but we're hoping that he will put in place and outline his plans how he'd like to attack the 2017 World Cup campaign. I honestly believe a Papua New Guinean should coach the PNG side. Hopefully it's a long and enduring appointment but that's not guaranteed yet.
VW: So this is a big audition for Michael to prove he's got what it takes?
BC: I don't think he has to prove anything - I think he's proven his coaching ability in respect to the Queensland Cup. A lot of the players here have a lot of respect for him and I know a lot of the ex-Kumuls are talking about if he got the job they would jump on board and help out. I know Stanley Gene's just spoken to him about helping him out, Marcus Bai has too [and] Mark Mom so these are players who either captained PNG or have been very well representative of PNG. I know Michael is going to talk to [Australian-based NRL players] David Mead and Nene McDonald and James Segeyaro about would they play in the one-off test. I would love to see James Segeyaro play - I know that he's just taken out Australian citizenship and said he would prefer to play for Queensland but he would be our first father-son because his father represented PNG as a Kumul.
VW: If Michael was to continue on with the job do you believe he can do the Kumuls and the Hunters jobs together?
BC: I have no doubt about that. He's now got a good coaching staff around him in the SP Hunters, in Nigel Hukala and Roger Laka and Joe Bruno so even though he's away a week [during the May test] those three are more than capable of making sure that the Hunters make their coaching commitments, because Michael puts in place the coaching programs that need to be done and those coaches can see that through. Leading up to the World Cup in 2017 that might have to be reviewed depending on what he wants to do - if he gets the job - in respect to number of camps but that will all depend on the availability of players during the year too, so it's a wonderful place to be in and I'm hoping Michael can put together a plan for the 2017 World Cup.
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