Contributed by: Brett Northey
Last weekend Papua New Guinea sounded an ominous warning with a solid win over Coolangatta on the Gold Coast by about 5 goals, before heading down to Melbourne. Although it was a friendly and even included some sharing of players, it's still a strong sign of how good this team could be.
A key issue will be player management. A great benefit to the PNG program is the scholarship system with Queensland clubs. The downside from a national team perspective is that some players will return to play for their clubs during the Queensland finals, overlapping with the International Cup. AFLPNG's Scott Reid believes it's a worthwhile inconvenience, and is happy that they can manage it well, explaining the biggest group affected are their under 16 emergencies, so not really required for the International Cup. Several stars such as John James and Stanis Susuve will likely miss one of the pool matches for the same reason, as could some of the under 17s, but to be realistic, the Mozzies should still be able to defeat the far less experienced Peace Team in that contest.
World Footy News