International Teams named for Pacific Test Series 2016

One of the great days/night of rugby league is coming up, and we have the teams and a few thoughts. PNG v Fiji and Tonga v Samoa. A double header of high quality test rugby league.

triple header pacific tests

The upcoming Pacific Test Series double header is one of the sporting events of the year that is circled and designated as a premium event.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the Australia v New Zealand test, but the PNG v Fiji and Tonga v Samoa games at Parramatta Stadium just holds more interest.

Maybe it’s the different style they play, or the real intensity that all teams bring. Maybe it’s each team’s pre game ritual of their own haka-style war dance or the Fijians getting down on one knee and singing before the game. Or maybe it’s the fact that our favourite rugby league player Willie Minoga has been selected  for the PNG Kumuls.

We’ll have the sides as they are announced, and happily the most prompt so far was the PNG side. Those who don’t follow the Queensland Cup may not recognise a lot of the names, but those who do will acknowledge the strength of the side, and will be better for last year’s experience and another year in the Intrust Super Cup in Queensland for those not in the NRL.

The Pacific Tests are also joined by the Junior Kangaroos and Kiwis test, providing a magnificent six hours or so of league.

3.15pm – Junior Kangaroos v Junior Kiwis

5.35pm – Papua New Guinea Kumuls v Fiji Bati

7.40pm – Mate Ma’a Tonga v Toa Samoa

The concept is new but great, and it needs to be extended so these players get more exposure to this high level of competition. We had some thoughts after last year’s tournament that this could be the perfect accompaniment to a stand alone State of Origin period. Read all about it here.

We are unashamedly huge PNG fans here at the Gurgler but have all the team lists below, and look forward to the big double header next weekend.

PNG TEAM

1. David Mead (NRL – GC Titans)
2. Justin Olam (PNG Hunters)
3. Kato Ottio (NRL – Canberra Raiders)
4. Nene Macdonald (NRL – GC Titans)
5. Stargroth Amean (PNG Hunters)
6. Ase Boas (PNG Hunters)
7. Watson Boas (PNG Hunters)
8. Luke Page (Burleigh Bears)
9. Wartovo Puara Jnr (PNG Hunters)
10. Henry Noki (PNG Hunters)
11. Rhys Martin (Townsville Blackhawks)
12. Rod Griffin (NRL – West Tigers)
13. Adam Korave (PNG Hunters)
14. Adex Wera (PNG Hunters)
15. Brandy Peter (PNG Hunters)
16. Willie Minoga (Townsville Blackhawks)
17. Kurt Baptiste (Canberra Raiders)
18. Timothy Lomai (PNG Hunters)

Coach: Michael Marum (PNG Hunters)

A few notable NRL names like speed machine David Mead and fellow Titan Nene McDonald and Canberra’s Kurt Baptiste are joined by fringe NRL players Rod Griffin and Kato Ottio who both headed south in search of an NRL career. The big news is ensuring the number 16 and the 2015 Gurgler Person of the Year Willie Minoga gets another run in 2016. There’s plenty of Hunters as expected, the Boas brothers in the halves, and excellent hooker Wartovo Puara are the highlights, and they even have the depth to play Hunters fullback Stargroth Amean on the wing.

Thanks to QRL website for PNG side.

 

FIJI TEAM

Sisa Waqa (Canberra Raiders)

Tyrone Phillips (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)

Junior Roqica (Cronulla Sharks)

James Storer (Illawarra – Port Kembla)

Fabian Goodall (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

Brayden Wiliame (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

Benjamin Nakubuwai (Melbourne Storm)

Maurice Kennedy (Mounties)

Sitiveni Moceidreke (North Sydney Bears)

Akuila Uate (Newcastle Knights)

Korbin Sims (Newcastle Knights)

Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle Knights)

Kane Evans (Sydney Roosters)

Eloni Vunakece (Sydney Roosters)

Kevin Naiqama (West Tigers)

Tui Kamikamica

Tuimasi Pio Moceiwaiyevo Seci

Ratu Jowasa Tubailagi Drodrolagi

Etuate Tamanikaitai Qionimacawa

Iliavi Chris Ravu

Coach: Mick Potter

*N.B.: numbers not confirmed – players listed in club alphabetical order.
Team announcement originally posted at NRL.com

Some NRL names and some fringe NRL players looking for their chance to shine for country and their own career. Most will recognise the Fijian-Newcastle connection with Ukuila Uate, Daniel Saifiti, and Korbin Sims all Newcastle regulars in 2016. Look at Uate on one win, it would have been a fearsome winger combination if Semi Radradra have of stayed under the Fijian banner. Kane Evans will offer plenty of firepower to combat the likely attack of the Kumuls.

Some names that very few will know and be able to pronounce like Tuimasi Pio Moceiwaiyevo Seci, Ratu Jowasa Tubailagi Drodrolagi, and Etuate Tamanikaitai Qionimacawa. But the beauty of these Pacfic Tests is one of those could be the new megatar NRL players in waiting.

 

SAMOA TEAM

Toa Samoa

1 Tim Simona (Wests Tigers)

2 Antonio Winterstein (North Queensland Cowboys)

3 Kirisome Auva’a (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

4 Ricky Leutele (Cronulla Sharks)

5 Matthew Wright (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

6 Fa’amanu Brown (Cronulla Sharks)

7 Pita Godinet (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

8 Sam Kasiano (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)

9 Kaysa Pritchard (Parramatta Eels)

10 Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels)

11 Leeson Ah Mau (St George Illawarra Dragons)

12 Frank Pritchard (Hull FC)

13 Sauaso Sue (Wests Tigers)

14 Erin Clark (New Zealand Warriors)

15 John Asiata (North Queensland Cowboys)

16 Raymond Faitala-Mariner (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)

17 Sam Tagataese (Cronulla Sharks)

18 Mason Lino (New Zealand Warriors)

Coach: Matt Parish

Team announcement originally posted at NRL.com

Plenty of familiar NRL faces including premiership winners Antonio Winterstein with the Cowboys in 2015 and Kirisome Auva’a with Souths in 2014. There’s also the fearsome Bulldogs duo of Frank Pritchard and last year’s hero for Samoa Sami Kasiano.

Some may not recognise the halves, not being household NRL names like others in the squad. Fa’amanu Brown is currently in the Cronulla Sharks system, and unfortunately missed 2015 with injury and with off season recruiting has slipped down the ladder so will no doubt be happy to be able to showcase his skills outside of the 11 games he has played in the NRL. Pita Godinet has played one game for Manly in 2016 having come from the NZ Warriors via the Wakefield Wildcats in the English Super League.

A huge shame Anthony Milford isn’t playing for Samoa.

 

TONGA SIDE

1 David Fusitu’a (New Zealand Warriors)

2 Mosese Pangai (Townsville Blackhawks)

3 Solomone Kata (New Zealand Warriors)

4 Vai Toutai (Parramatta Eels)

5 Michael Oldfield (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

6 Feleti Mateo (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

7 Samisoni Langi (North Sydney Bears)

8 Penni Terepo (Parramatta Eels)

9 Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers)

10 Felise Kaufusi (Melbourne Storm)

11 Sika Manu (Hull FC)

12 Tony Williams (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)

13 Joe Ofahengaue (Brisbane Broncos)

14 Nafe Seluini (Sunshine Coast Falcons)

15 David Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)

16 Patrick Kaufusi (North Queensland Cowboys)

17 Siosala Vave (Manly Sea Eagles)

18 Mickey Paea (Newcastle Knights)

Coach: Kristian Woolf

Team announcement originally posted at NRL.com

Another squad full of NRL players and looks as fearful as their Saturday rivals Samoa. Alongside the established NRL stars like the highly experienced and former Australian representative Tony Williams and NSW City rep Feleti Mateo are a bunch of players from the second tier sides of the Intrust Super Cup and Premiership. One worth watching will be the Townsville Blackhawks Mosese Pangai.

 

There are the squads and the anticipation is high for a blockbuster double header of Pacific Nation rugby league on Saturday. The coverage kicks off on Fox Sports with the Junior Kangaroos v Junior Kiwis.

For the record we like Australia, PNG, and Tonga for the wins.

5 things we are looking forward to:

  • Some Minoga Magic from the Freight Train Willie Minoga from PNG, he is due to catch the eye of the league fan soon.
  • Pre game song from the Bati
  • Pre game from the Tonga v Samoa game.
  • David Fifita and Tony Williams from Tonga up against the bulk of Frank Pritchard and Sam Kasiano.
  • The Boas Brothers in the halves for the PNG side.

 

 

About Max Layne 269 Articles

Max has no time for long bios, he has only time for sport and then more sport. Each week he tries to sum up what sport has tickled the collective fancy of The Gurgler.