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The final game of the men’s international rugby league triple-header ends with Papua New Guinea facing off against Fiji at Campbelltown Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 7.50pm AEST.
During the lead up to this clash, PNG skipper David Mead has announced his retirement from international rugby league and this clash will be his 15th and final cap for Papua New Guinea. The Kumuls have plenty of experience and first grade experience in their backline, with Alex Johnston named at fullback, Justin Olam listed at centre and Lachlan Lam leading the attack at halfback. And that is their strength with the rest of their side predominantly coming from Queensland Cup teams. Thus, the onus falls onto the senior players such as Johnston, Olam and Mead to lead from the front and push the Fijian boys.
Fiji start favourites and looking at their side that has been named, it isn’t anything surprising. Skipper Kevin Naiqama will lead the Fiji Bati from five eighth, while fullback Sunia Turuva and centre Semi Valemei will make their international debuts. The forward pack is led by premiership winners Tui Kamikamica and Viliame Kikau and the onus falls on the duo to ensure Fiji dominates the Kumuls through the middle of the park. The bench in the Fijian side includes winger Isaac Lumelume and it’ll be interesting to see how he is utilised off the bench.
Looking across the teams named 1-17 from both sides, Fiji start off as huge favourites. They have more first grade experience and seem to be a settled side over the past decade, including an upset against New Zealand in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup quarter finals. However, I would be a madman to underestimate the spirit of the PNG side, who will give it their all. However, Fiji should have too much in their arsenal and get over the line in Campbelltown.
Fiji by 6+
Papua New Guinea
1. Alex Johnston, 2. Robert Derby, 3. David Mead,4. Justin Olam, 5. Terry Wapi, 6. Kyle Laybutt, 7. Lachlan Lam, 8. Epel Kapinias, 9. Wartovo Puara, 10. Sylvester Namo, 11. Daniel Russell, 12. Nixon Putt, 13. Jacob Alick, 14. Liam Horne, 15. Emmanuel Waine, 16. McKenzie Yei, 17. Dilbert Issac
1. Sunia Turuva, 2. Mikaele Ravalawa, 3. Semi Valemei, 4. Waqa Blake, 5. Maika Sivo, 6. Kevin Naiqama, 7. Nautu’a Masima, 8. Joseph Ratu, 9. Penioni Tagituimua, 10. Tui Kamikamica, 11. Viliame Kikau, 12. Taniela Sadrugu, 13. Taane Milne, 14. Issac Lumelume, 15. Pio Seci, 16. Lamar Liolevave, 17. Kaylen Miller