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PNG Kumuls Reds beat Kumul Gold 18 - 0 in a trial match

WILL the Papua New Guinea Kumul national selectors overlook the fighting performance by PNG Red?
That question will would have thrown a spanner in the works after the second-string outfit beat the more favoured PNG Gold 18-0 at the Lloyd Robson Oval yesterday.
The PNG Gold team comprising what Kumul coach Adrian Lam would have been looking to work with next week faltered on examination day or in this case the only official Kumul trial match.
Will selectors look at who dug deep to perform in the trial or go for the committed who have been consistent throughout the four camps since April.
Certainly PNG Red half-back Roger Laka threw caution to the wind with his five-star performance against the favoured Ase Boas.
Likewise was the three-try effort by stylish finisher Francis Paniu, who despite not playing on his favoured left centre, grabbed every opportunity that presented itself down the right flank.
As did dynamic winger George Benson who may not get a look in due to his height but was certainly shouting for recognition on the left wing. 
While in the forwards PNG Red prop Esau Siune and backrowers Larsen Marape, Paul Aiton, Sebastian Pandia and Adam Korave shone with their work-rate on defence and in attack. 
If the team was picked on yesterday’s performance, fullback Josiah Abavu picked himself, 191cm three-quarter Wellington Albert and his polar opposite Benson were a sure things on the wings, Paniu should grab left centre, to maintain Jessie Joe Nandye experience on the right and utility Israel Eliab the number six jersey where he looks more at home at.
Laka nailed the half back slot, while Siune and Enoch Maki were the only props making ground and hooker Charlie Wabo was ahead of the other contenders.
In the backrow, ball-playing David Loko and Marape looked the best and Aiton’s experience should have him at lock.
Kumul coach Adrian Lam after the match said the team that won made less mistakes and defended better.
“The conditions were poor and there were a lot of mistakes and players were not able to fully express themselves,” he said.
When asked about the uplifting performance of the PNG Red side, Lam agreed that it may pose a dilemma for national selectors but reiterated that it was a long selection process that included the four camps which would be taken into consideration as well.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is expected to make the announcement of the Prime Minister’s XIII team today to play the Australian Prime Ministers XIII who were named last week.  The match will be at Kalabond Oval in Kokopo on Sunday. 
PNG Red 18 (Francis Paniu 3, Willie Minoga  tries; Paniu con) PNG Gold 0. Match played in quarters.

The National / My Pacific 

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