Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Fiji have closed out a thrilling Test match with Papua New Guinea to win by two points, in a match where the lead changed hands several times, and there was plenty of enterprising football from both sides.
Papua New Guinea 20
The Fiji Bati will take on the Papua New Guinea Kumuls in Christchurch in the final match of the inaugural Oceania Cup. Join The Roar from 3:20pm (AEDT) for live scores and a blog of the game.
After thumping Pool B favourites Samoa 44-18 in last week’s match, the Fijians will be looking to wrap up the pool and seal qualification for Pool A in next year’s competition against New Zealand and Tonga with a win in this game.
Standing in their way, however, will be the Kumuls of Papua New Guinea, who go into this match as underdogs despite having named a strong team.
After going down to Samoa 24-6 earlier in the year, the Kumuls must defeat Fiji by 23 points or more if they are to rip top spot from the grasp of the Fijians.
This is a tough ask for Papua New Guinea. One gets the feeling that win, lose or draw, it’ll be Fiji advancing to next year’s Pool A unless Papua New Guinea can really turn it on in this game.
Aiding their cause is the inclusion of South Sydney star Alex Johnston, who at 24 years of age is making his debut for the Kumuls after previously representing the Kangaroos on one occasion in 2014.
Johnston had an injury-interrupted 2019 campaign with the Rabbitohs, but will relish the chance to break free from the stresses of NRL football and play for the Kumuls, particularly in his preferred position of fullback – a position which he has struggled to lock down at NRL level for many years.
Johnston will be joined by Melbourne Storm centre Justin Olam, whose rise to the top has seen Will Chambers depart the club, as well as former Canterbury Bulldogs back-rower Rhyse Martin, who now plays for Leeds Rhinos in the Super League. The rest of the side is made up of players from the QLD Cup and the lower tiers of English rugby league.
Fiji in stark contrast, have named a side stacked full of NRL and Super League talent. Parramatta Eels sensation Maika Sivo makes his return to the side after suspension saw him miss the Samoa game.
He will be joined by the likes of Tui Kamikamica, Suliasi Vunivalu, Kevin Naiqama, Taane Milne, Kane Evans, Brayden Wiliame and of course big Viliame Kikau, who had a blinder against Samoa last week.
This is a Fiji side with strike power all over the park. They will be very difficult to contain.
Everyone loves the Kumuls. They play the game with a level of passion which few can match, and it’s great to see Alex Johnston finally don the red and yellow jersey after all these years.
But this Fiji side is absolutely oozing with class. They have individual brilliance in a number of positions, with the likes of Kikau, Vunivalu and Sivo all capable of breaking a game open.
More importantly than that, Fiji played like a team last week. If they can recapture that performance, it should be enough to see them put a bit of a score on Papua New Guinea.
Fiji by 20.
Don’t forget to join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the game from 3:20pm (AEDT).
Where: Christchurch, New Zealand
When: 3:20pm (AEDT)
TV: Fox League
Streaming: NRL Digital Pass, Kayo Sports
1. Siti Moceidreke, 2. Maika Sivo, 3. Taane Milne, 4. Brayden Wiliame, 5. Suliasi Vunivalu, 6. Kevin Naiqama, 7. Brandon Wakeham, 8. Kane Evans, 9. Joe Lovodua, 10. Tui Kamikamica, 11. Viliame Kikau, 12. Ben Nakubuwai, 13. D’Rhys Miller
Interchange: 14. Lamar Liolevave, 15. Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu, 16. King Vuniyayawa, 17. Penioni Tagituimua
Reserves: 18. Isaac Lumelume
Papua New Guinea
1. Alex Johnston, 2. Edene Gebbie, 3. Dan Russell, 4. Justin Olam, 5. Terry Wapi, 6. Kyle Laybutt, 7. Watson Boas, 8. Wellington Albert, 9. Wartovo Puara, 10. Luke Page, 11. Nixon Putt, 12. Rhyse Martin, 13. Moses Meninga
Interchange: 14. Edwin Ipape, 15. Stanton Albert, 16. Enock Maki, 17. Stargoth Amean
Reserves: 18. Garry Lo, 19. Stanford Talita, 20. David Mead