Leeds forward Rhyse Martin says he will honour his late father Steve when he proudly represents Papua New Guinea at the forthcoming World Cup.
The 29-year-old was born and raised in Australia but qualifies to represent Papua New Guinea through his late father.
His dad Steve sadly died earlier this year, but Martin wants to make him proud by representing their Papua New Guinean heritage this autumn.
“Dad moved over to Australia from Papua New Guinea when he was 18,” Martin told Love Rugby League.
“I was born in Cairns. My dad was a proud Papua New Guinean and that’s how I got into the culture.
“I lost my dad this year and he is my reason for this World Cup and who I want to do proud and do my family proud. I’m just proud that I can get back into camp and share this with my team-mates.
“When we get into the first game he will be on my mind the whole time. He’s been my biggest supporter through my career and I can’t wait to represent him and my family, so to get to do it a World Cup is great.”
Rhyse Martin: We want to win World Cup
Papua New Guinea are in a group alongside Tonga, Wales and the Cook Islands at the World Cup, which is held in England.
The Kumuls want to give the tournament a real shake, according to goal-kicker Martin.
“Like everyone, we want to win it,” he told Love Rugby League. “I think we’ve got the team to challenge that.
“We got to a quarter-final at the last World Cup so to get past that would be an achievement in itself but I’m confident that we’ve got the best Kumuls team we’ve ever had, so who knows what we can achieve? The confidence within the group is very positive and I think we can shake the tree.
“It’s always a massive honour to play for PNG, especially with how crazy the support is back home every time we play.
“I’ve no doubt that every TV will be on in PNG and that everyone will be around watching it. To be able to represent them again is exciting, I can’t wait. Tonga is going to be a tough game in round one, it will set us up for the World Cup to see where we’re at. I think it’s going to be a great World Cup.”
The Kumuls get their World Cup campaign underway against Tonga in St Helens on Tuesday, October 18.