It feels like putting armour on: Nene Macdonald on representing Papua New Guinea

Josh McAllister
Rhyse Martin, Justin Olam and Nene Macdonald could play for Papua New Guinea at the World Cup PA

(L-R) Rhyse Martin, Justin Olam and Nene Macdonald could all play for Papua New Guinea at the World Cup

Nene Macdonald has described the special feeling of putting on the Papua New Guinea jersey as the international star reflects on his nation’s World Cup campaign three months on. 

Despite falling short to hosts England in the quarter-finals, the 28-year-old centre believes the tournament was a success for the Kumuls.

Macdonald, who was born in Port Moresby, featured in all four of the country’s fixtures during the delayed 2021 World Cup. In total, he has represented PNG 13 times since his debut in 2013.

“It was good to wear that jersey as it means a lot to me,” Macdonald told Love Rugby League.

“I’ve been in England over a year now, so it was good to see people from back home.

“It was good to catch up with them and other boys with other nations that play in the NRL.

“It was a great campaign. I was so happy for us to get to the quarters and we came up against a tough England side. It was a loss, but we lost to a good team.”

“It feels like putting armour on” – Nene Macdonald

The international calendar is yet to be confirmed for 2023 and beyond. The delay is much due to the NRL’s ongoing negotiations with its players over a new collective bargaining agreement.

It means the likes of those Pacific countries Down Under are still in the dark whether who, or even if, they will play this year.

Macdonald joins the long list of players eager to see more international fixtures, with a focus on the importance of representing your country.

“I think they need to drive more into the meaning of the jersey and I think for us, we’ve nailed it,” Macdonald said on Papua New Guinea.

“It means a lot. It feels like putting armour on when you put the PNG jersey on.

“I can throw my body in any position when I’m out in the field when I have the jersey on.”

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