Papua New Guinea international stars Alex Johnston and Edwin Ipape insist the Kumuls are rising following their late heartbreaking defeat to Tonga on Tuesday night.
Keaon Koloamatangi scored the late match winner with just two minutes remaining on the clock at the Totally Wicked Stadium, with the score at 18-18.
PNG had fought back from an 18-6 deficit at half-time, thanks to tries from Lachlan Lam and Dan Russell in front of an electrifying crowd of over 10,000 in St Helens.
Despite their defeat, stars Johnston and Ipape remained upbeat about the nation’s journey on the international rugby league scene.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” South Sydney Rabbitohs winger Johnston said following the game. “To lose on the bell basically, it was heartbreaking.
“I’ve been a part of some great wins. But even in this loss, we came here on a mission to show that the Kumuls are rising. Even in this loss, we definitely showed that.”
Edwin Ipape: The Kumuls on the rise
According to man of the match Ipape, “Kumuls on the rise” has been the theme of the camp so far during this World Cup campaign.
The side will face Cook Islands next Tuesday in Leigh before facing Wales in Doncaster, with all sides battling for a place in the quarter-finals from Group D.
“It’s been our thing in this camp, the Kumuls on the rise,” Leigh’s Ipape said.
“We wanted to show that we can compete on this level and we’re not just here to make numbers. Hopefully we can make it to the finals. But that’s the theme; Kumuls on the rise.”