Lam: PNG must be patient

Papua New Guinea coach Adrian Lam says their rugby league mad country must be patient, after their World Cup defeat to Samoa on Monday.

The 38-4 defeat at Craven Park means they must pull off a shock victory over New Zealand to have any hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals.

They suffered heartbreak in their opening group game, when David Mead missed a simple penalty attempt minutes from time as they went down 9-8 to France.

Lam said: “I thought we started really poor. Our number one priority was to start well, but I think five of our first six sets were incomplete, so we were under the pump straight away.

“Politically, the game in PNG has been on its knees for the past five years. We’ve been down to the doom box and back.

“What we’ve got in place now is a high performance programme and a five year plan leading to the next World Cup. That’s our priority, and although we wanted to be good here too, we’ve got a lot of young players coming through and more local players in the squad. The experience they’ll gain from this tournament is priceless.

“The fans have got to be patient with the process a bit. We’ve got probably seven million people up watching it this morning, so they’ll disappointed. They just the boys pretty harsh on their performance, and everyone at home will be devastated.

“We still have New Zealand to go, so all is not list. We might win that to make it through!”

It’s 13 years to the day since Papua New Guinea last won a World Cup match – 30-22 over Tonga in Toulouse back on November 6, 2000.

They were placed in the “Group of Death” at the 2008 tournament, going down to Australia, England and New Zealand.

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