Thursday, July 27 2017 @ 12:02 PM ACST
Contributed by: Michael Christiansen
The reigning champs return to defend the crown earned so valiantly in a classic International Cup Grand Final win over the mighty Irish Warriors in 2014. It was the 2nd IC title for the Mozzies out of a fine record of having made each of the five Grand Final play offs. Previously PNG took out the title in 2008 with a win over the then New Zealand Falcons. PNG came up short in 2002 and 2011 against Ireland and 2005 to New Zealand.
PNG are the top ranked side for this tournament and number two to Australia in the global sense. They deserve favouritism. The 2014 squad had been the youngest ever assembled for the Mozzies for an IC campaign (average age 21) – this years squad includes 23 of that squad so clearly the average age has crept up. There’s no Theo Gavuri or Donald Barry however the core group of the victorious 2014 side is retained and will be super keen to again grace the ‘G on August 19.