Papua New Guinea’s Enoch Maki has been impressed with the support that his side received throughout Rugby League World Cup 2013, and despite losing each of their matches he is looking forward to tackling New Zealand at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds, on Friday (8.00pm).
The Papuans went down 38-4 to Samoa in their last Group B fixture, in a match which has now confirmed that the quarter-finals are out of reach for PNG at RLWC2013.
Maki is disappointed with the result, which means that the Kumuls cannot match their best-ever World Cup – when they reached the last eight in 2000 – though he appreciates the quality that his side has come up against and is looking forward to playing the defending world champions on Friday evening.
“The result did not go our way and we feel a bit down after losing but now we have to go back and work on it,” said Maki.
“In terms of completion rate, our completion rate against France was ok, especially when compared to this game. Samoa were good in defence though, and that made it hard for us to score.
“I am looking forward to playing against New Zealand. We came here knowing that we were going to play against them so we will go back and prepare, so that we can come out and give a good game to New Zealand.”
PNG have been based in Hull throughout the duration of RLWC2013 so far, as they played their first two Group B matches at Craven Park, the home of Hull Kingston Rovers. Maki has been impressed by the local backing, especially as he will be wearing the red and white of Hull KR in the 2014 Super League season.
“We feel excited to have the support of the crowd in Hull,” said Maki. “We came over from PNG where we were supported but the support over here is really amazing.
“I can’t wait to come and play at Craven Park for Hull Kingston Rovers next year, I am very much looking forward to playing for them.”
PNG head coach Adrian Lam has named his 19 man squad to play New Zealand at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Friday (20:00)
Bosam Nene MacDonald
Jessie Joe Nandye