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Five Super League players who could join PNG’s NRL team

Papua New Guinea is a growing power in Rugby League. The Pacific Island nation have gone from strength to strength in recent years, and this was capped off this Autumn as they lifted the Pacific Bowl. PNG is not only a growing force on the International scene, but some of the biggest names from the Island are now in Super League. Edwin Ipape, Lachlan Lam and Rhyse Martin are just some Kumuls players that ply their trade on our shores, but this could soon come to an end. 

There rapid growth has seen calls for a PNG-based team to enter the NRL, but this could see those PNG stars based in the UK return home to play for this new team.

With that in mind, here are five Super League players who could join PNG’s NRL team:

Nene Macdonald 

Nene Macdonald may have just moved to Salford Red Devils, but he could be tempted to join the PNG-based NRL side if it becomes a reality. The former Leigh and Leeds man caused a stir last year when he returned down under  for the birth of his child, and if a PNG-based NRL side came in for him the pull to be closer to his family could be too much to turn down. He is also a talented player, and showed in the Pacific Cup this Autumn that he would thrive playing back in the Southern Hemisphere.

Rhyse Martin 

The experienced Leeds Rhinos second-rower could be another one tempted by a move to a PNG-based NRL side. Martin currently has 17 caps for the Kumuls, but the chance to represent his nation in the NRL could again be a huge pull. Martin would also return to the NRL with a point to prove after his brief stint at the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Edwin Ipape 

The Leigh Leopards hooker has already attracted NRL interest after his stellar campaign last season; but could the chance to play for a PNG-based team be too good to turn down? Ipape is the heartbeat of the Leopards attack, and if he was to go to the NRL, his strong ball-carrying around the ruck could cause havoc.  He has impressed since moving over to the UK, and clearly has the skillset to thrive in the NRL, but crucially he has also represented the PNG side in the Queensland Cup, so the chance to return to a club team in the NRL could be a big swing for Ipape.

Lachlan Lam

From one Leopard to another. Lachlan Lam is another Kumul who has attracted NRL interest this year following impressive displays for Leigh. Lam has also played in the NRL before, but his time in the UK has clearly helped him become a better player. If he was to return to the NRL, it wouldn’t be anytime soon after he agreed a new deal with Leigh, but it would be a fantastic opportunity for him to return down under with the PNG-based NRL side.

Liam Horne 

One of the more recent arrivals from down under, Liam Horne arrived at Castleford half-way through last season and impressed right from the off. In his brief time in Tigers colours, he has shown he is a quality hooker and has added plenty of zip to the Tigers attack. Horne-like his fellow hooker Ipape-hasn’t played in the Australian top-flight yet, with his playing career in Australia coming in the Queensland Cup; so the opportunity to play in the NRL whilst also representing his nation could see him return down under quickly.

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