PNG have had the benefit of playing in the Intrust Super Cup for a number of years and now big-name NRL players are pledging their support back to Samoa.

It makes for an interesting match-up in the 2019 Ox & Palm Pacific Test Invitational between two nations with not a lot of playing history against each other.

Different styles and different strengths mean on-paper analysis leads to a few possibilities in the outcome.

Will Samoa, boosted by the return of Martin Taupau, power straight through the middle? Or can the more nimble PNG playmakers use speed and skill to stand-up the Samoans?

Match: Samoa v Papua New Guinea

Round 1 -

Full Time
Samoa

Home Team

Samoa

Scored 24 points
Papua New Guinea

Away Team

Papua New Guinea

Scored 6 points

Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney

Match broadcasters:

  • GEM
  • Foxtel

The Rundown

Key match-up

Samoa are loaded with NRL players compared to just a handful for the Kumuls. That puts a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of PNG's Lachlan Lam, James Segeyaro and Kurt Baptiste to get the better of rival playmakers Anthony Milford, Chanel Harris-Tevita and Mason Lino. Segeyaro hasn't tasted much first grade in the last couple of years and will be relishing the chance to play a crucial role for his country.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Samoa is number 1 Jamayne Isaako
    Fullback for Papua New Guinea is number 1 Edene Gebbie
  • Winger for Samoa is number 2 Jorge Taufua
    Winger for Papua New Guinea is number 2 Junior Rau
  • Centre for Samoa is number 3 Hymel Hunt
    Centre for Papua New Guinea is number 3 Brandon Nima
  • Centre for Samoa is number 4 Marion Seve
    Centre for Papua New Guinea is number 4 Xavier Coates
  • Winger for Samoa is number 5 David Nofoaluma
    Winger for Papua New Guinea is number 5 Terry Wapi
  • Five-Eighth for Samoa is number 6 Chanel Harris-Tavita
    Five-Eighth for Papua New Guinea is number 6 Edwin Ipape
  • Halfback for Samoa is number 7 Anthony Milford
    Halfback for Papua New Guinea is number 7 Kyle Laybutt

Forwards

  • Prop for Samoa is number 8 Junior Paulo
    Prop for Papua New Guinea is number 8 Enock Maki
  • Hooker for Samoa is number 9 Jarome Luai
    Hooker for Papua New Guinea is number 9 James Segeyaro
  • Prop for Samoa is number 17 Josh Aloiai
    Prop for Papua New Guinea is number 10 Luke Page
  • 2nd Row for Samoa is number 11 Raymond Faitala-Mariner
    2nd Row for Papua New Guinea is number 11 Rhyse Martin
  • 2nd Row for Samoa is number 12 Jaydn Su'A
    2nd Row for Papua New Guinea is number 12 Nixon Putt
  • Lock for Samoa is number 13 Martin Taupau
    Lock for Papua New Guinea is number 13 Moses Meninga

Interchange

  • Interchange for Samoa is number 14 Mason Lino
    Interchange for Papua New Guinea is number 14 Kurt Baptiste
  • Interchange for Samoa is number 15 Michael Chee-Kam
    Interchange for Papua New Guinea is number 15 Zev John
  • Interchange for Samoa is number 16 Herman Ese'ese
    Interchange for Papua New Guinea is number 16 Radley Brawa
  • Interchange for Samoa is number 10 James Gavet
    Interchange for Papua New Guinea is number 17 Stanton Albert

For the Kumuls to win

Ball movement. PNG can pull off amazing plays if they keep the ball alive and the defence on the move and that will go a long way to claiming victory for them over Samoa. They must shift the ball around to create gaps and be ready to burst forward when they appear.

For Samoa to win

It's in a power game. Samoa must use Taupau's big running to go straight and hard at the PNG line. Tire them out through defence, bust the line and look for the offload as defenders are drawn in.

Stat Attack

This is a big test for PNG, who have faced Fiji in three of their past four clashes, the other opponent being Cook Islands. They are on a three-match winning streak, the last win against Fiji during last year's rep weekend. Samoa are on a three-match losing streak (to Tonga, England and Fiji) and will be desperate for that to end this weekend.

And another thing ...

A tough ask for the Kumuls against a side in which every player has NRL experience. Toa Samoa has a good balance of power and speed, with serious size and strength in the pack complemented by some very capable playmakers. But no team in rugby league tackles harder than the Kumuls and they'll be looking forward to the challenge of cutting their more fancied opponents down to size with some typically ferocious defence.