Johnston, Coates among key faces in PNG Kumuls World Cup squad


-Prolific South Sydney try scorer Alex Johnston and Melbourne backs Justin Olam and Xavier Coates headline an experienced Papua New Guinea squad for upcoming World Cup.

Johnston, the back-to-back Ken Irvine Medallist as the NRL’s leading tryscorer, and Olam and Coates will be joined by a host of familiar faces, including Rhyse Martin, Lachlan Lam, Nene Macdonald, Watson Boas and Wellington Albert.

Fresh from clinching the Championship Player of the Year in England and helping Leigh to a place in the 2023 Super League, hooker Edwin Ipape also joins the side.

“I wanted players with experience, but I also couldn’t look past the players that did well in the Pacific Test,” Kumuls coach Stanley Tepend said.

“The bond they made and the sense of loyalty for winning that match is something to keep together. Players with the right attitude were the ones picked because that’s what’s important for the longer camp.

“The players in the UK have all been part of our Kumuls team in the past, and whenever they’ve worn the jersey none of them have let Papua New Guinea down. They’re all in good form and have all played together before, so getting them settled into camp shouldn’t be any issue.”

Papua New Guinea Kumuls squad

Wellington Albert (London Broncos)
Jacob Alick (Gold Coast Titans)
Keven Appo (PNG Hunters)
Watson Boas
Xavier Coates (Melbourne Storm)
Edene Gebbie (Townsville Blackhawks)
Edwin Ipape (Leigh Centurions)
Zev John (Central Queensland Capras)
Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Lachlan Lam (Leigh Centurions)
Kyle Laybutt (Townsville Blackhawks)
Nene Macdonald (Leigh Centurions)
Rhyse Martin (Leeds Rhinos)
Sylvester Namo (PNG Hunters)
Jimmy Ngutlik (Western Suburbs Magpies)
Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm)
Nixon Putt (Central Queensland Capras)
Daniel Russell (Brisbane Tigers)
Jeremiah Simbiken (Redcliffe Dolphins)
Rodrick Tai (PNG Hunters)
Sherwin Tanabi (PNG Hunters)
Wesser Tenza (PNG Hunters)
Emmanuel Waine (PNG Hunters)
Mckenzie Yei (Central Queensland Capras).