Australian rugby league legend Mal Meninga has begun training Papua New Guinea’s national Rugby League team. Meninga signed on last month to become the Kumuls’ high performance director for the next five years.

He says his first priority is to get the side ready for Rugby League World Cup 2013. “My short term goal is to make sure the players understand what is necessary to get to the next level,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing at the moment, trying to build a culture, a set of values, a philosophy for the players to understand what they need to do individually and as a group.”

In Papua New Guinea, Rugby League is a national obsession and the high profile acquisition has given the team a big morale boost.PNG Logo

Meninga has put the players through their paces at the first training session for the year.

Kumuls second-rower, Larsan Marabe, says he is excited to be working with Meninga.

“For me, for myself, I’m so proud that I’m going to learn something out of him,” he said. “Get much better and fitter and play with the best at RLWC2013.” Kumuls coach, Adrian Lam, says having Meninga will help the team improve their fitness levels, which he says are at about 50 per cent compared to the international standard.

“We feel that if we can get them to a level that’s equal with Australia, New Zealand and England, we feel we can really compete,” he said.State of Mind 160 Menzie Yere

Papua New Guinea kick off their RLWC2013 campaign against France at Craven Park in Hull on Sunday October 27. They return to the same stadium 8 days later on Monday November 4 to take on Samoa and then face holders New Zealand at Headingley Carnegie Stadium in Leeds on Friday November 8.

Tickets for those games and all RLWC2013 matches are now on sale with 55% of tickets priced £20 or less. To make sure you’ll BE THERE buy now at or call our 24 Hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.