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6 days ago
Pride on the line as the USA battle undefeated PNG
Papua New Guinea have proven to be one of most exciting teams to watch in the World Cup. The Kumuls have already booked their spot in next week's Quarter Finals with two straight victories against Wales and Ireland. However, this does not mean that Michael Marum's side will be devoid of motivation heading into Sunday afternoon's clash. Rather, as well as looking to keep their momentum, the Kumuls will also look to repay their loyal fan base in Papua New Guinea who have proven themselves to be the most fanatic rugby league fans in the World Cup.
The United States may have lost their opening two matches of the World Cup, however, this does not worry Coach Brian McDermott. Entering the World Cup, the USA side were lacking recognised NRL or Super League players - a deliberate choice on the part of the USA coaching staff. McDermott instead selected 12 home grown players as to attempt to establish a greater interest in the sport back home. Therefore, while the United States have not experienced great success in this year's World Cup, Sunday afternoon's battle with PNG represents another chance for them to gain greater exposure for the game of rugby league on American soil. However, the USA will still be determined to not bow out meekly given that they have conceded 104 points in the World Cup thus far and scored just 12.
Last meeting: These sides have never met previously in the World Cup.
Who to watch: In what is expected to be a one-sided encounter, look out for another stellar performance from PNG five-eighth Ase Boas. In his two appearances in the World Cup this year Boas has been impressive, producing three try-assists and two line breaks and he is likely to only add to this tally on Sunday afternoon against a weaker USA outfit.
One player in the USA side with NRL experience is Gold Coast second rower Eddy Pettybourne. Pettybourne achieved solid numbers in last week's 46-0 defeat to Italy, running 126 metres and making 18 tackles in 62 minutes of play. Given his experience, an even better performance from Pettybourne could inspire his pack to match the intensity and energy of that of the Kumuls.
The favourite: This appears a mismatch and the markets reflect this with PNG clear favourites.
My tip: In front of their home fans at National Football Stadium, look for PNG to remain undefeated and do so with ease. Kumuls by 40.
1. David Mead 2. Justin Olam 3. Kato Ottio 4. Nene Macdonald 5. Garry Lo 6. Lachlan Lam 7. Watson Boas 8. Moses Meninga 9. James Segeyaro 10. Luke Page 11. Rhyse Martin 18. Rod Griffin 13. Paul Aiton 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Stargroth Amean 16. Nixon Putt 17. Thompson Teteh
1. Corey Makelim 2. Ryan Burroughs 3. Junior Vaivai 17. Gabriel Farley 5. Bureta Faraimo 6. Kristian Freed 7. Tui Samoa 8. Eddy Pettybourne 9. David Marando 10. Mark Offerdahl 11. Danny Howard 12. Joe Eichner 18. Steve Howard 14. Sam Tochterman-talbott 16. Martwain Johnston 20. David Ulch 21. Joshua Rice
Referees: Adam Gee; Sideline Officials: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski, Chris McMillan; Video Referees: Jared Maxwell;