"SACK THEM" Says Philemon Embel


Papua New Guinea's Sports Minister wants the national rugby league coach and administration sacked after a dismal performance in the Four Nations tournament.
Amid scathing public criticism of the Kumuls' wooden result, Sports Minister Philemon Embel said the poor result jeopardised their hope of entering a team in the NRL by 2014.

"I feel that rugby league in PNG will die a natural death under the present leadership," Embel said in a statement. "I want to see Adrian Lam return as the coach of the Kumuls and return them to their winning Pacific Cup standards.

"I cannot support the current rugby league administration and I am very disappointed that unnecessary changes were made against my concern and advice only weeks before the Four Nations."

It was always going to be a tough slog for PNG, who lost every game against Australia (42-0), New Zealand (76-12) and England (36-10). Complaints have filled PNG newspaper letter pages for weeks, including criticism of the administration's child-like feuds and power struggles, accusations particular provinces were unfairly preferred and a wrong preference for local talent over NRL-experienced players.

"We have lost too much," Embel said. "I did not expect the Kumuls to win the Four Nations this year but I did expect them to show structure, competitiveness and skill. But that was not the case.

"The coaching staff had not nothing to impart. We lost respect. And respect is just what we were looking for."
Talk around PNG has been overwhelming in the widespread disappointment of the Kumuls performance, blamed firmly at administrators squabbles and a subsequent less than professional preparation.

Former Queensland and PNG representative Adrian Lam resigned as Kumuls coach before the competition and was replaced by UK-based first timer Stanley Gene.

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