FORMER Orange CYMS forward Larsen Marabe yesterday touched down in Hull, England, as a member of the Papua New Guinea squad set to tackle this year’s Rugby League World Cup.
Marabe was selected in the Kumuls’ 23-man squad to tour the United Kingdom for this year’s World Cup.
The Kumuls will play their first lead-up match to the tournament this Saturday, with the Neville Costigan-led PNG side to face Scotland ahead of their opening World Cup match against the French on October 27.
The squad has a mix of English Super League players, NRL stars and local talent, with Marabe joined by Super League guns Jason Chan and Menzie Yere as well as NRL players Costigan, David Mead, Ray Thompson, Nene McDonald, James Segeyaro and Paul Aiton.
One of the squad’s local stars, Marabe was a hit in his stint in Group 10 and helped CYMS to the 2012 grand final, a game the green and golds eventually lost 40-14 to Workies in Lithgow.
Held in high regard by PNG selectors, Marabe immediately flew home after the 2012 grand final to play for the Kumuls against the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII.
This year’s World Cup will be Marabe’s first.
In a training camp interview, Marabe said the Team Kumul environment has helped ensure the PNG boys were fitter, while the appointment of Mal Meninga as high performance director had the group abuzz ahead of another World Cup campaign.
“I’m so proud to have him on board. He’s a champion coach,” Marabe said.
“He’s coached the Maroons to (eight) in a row and now with the PNG boys. For myself, I’m going to learn something and play the best in the World Cup.”
Following the Kumuls’ warm-up match against Scotland and first World Cup match against France, PNG then takes on the highly-touted Samoa and reigning World Cup champions New Zealand in their final pool match on November 8 at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
Meninga told the Pacific Beat the PNG coaching staff, which also includes head coach and former Sydney Roosters half Adrian Lam, was preparing to get the best out of its players when it mattered most.
“We have set some goals around the quarter-final, but our challenge is individually and as a group to play as best as we possibly can,” he said.
“We have got tremendous attitude and passion and desire when we put the Kumul jersey on, we will do well.”
Marabe was thrilled to have Meninga assisting with the guidance of the Kumul national team.
“It’s going to bring the upcoming players and the players in the team to the next level to beat the others like New Zealand, Australia and England,” he added.