Kumuls trio boosts Jets
NORTH Ipswich Reserve is set to become a mini-Port Moresby next season after the Ipswich Jets signed three Papua New Guinea Test players.
The trio – Charlie Wabo, Nixon Kolo and Benjamin John – were stars in the PNG Kumuls’ Four Nations campaign, proving they could mix it with the best from Australia, New Zealand and England in October and November.
Jets coaches Ben and Shane Walker were assistant mentors for the Kumuls during the tournament after helping them prepare for the campaign during a week-long camp in Ipswich.
And when the brothers learnt the three stars would only be playing in PNG’s national competition next season, they decided to do everything they could to book them berths at the Jets.
“They are all too good to be playing in PNG,” Ben Walker said.
“All of them will be in our Queensland Cup team at some point during the season, definitely.
“They performed well against the best players in the world so they are Queensland Cup standard.
“Jets’ fans will love these guys. They are good blokes as well as good players and they will be doing some community work during their stay here.
“A few of the boys in the PNG team played professionally in England and while there they made such an impression that their UK fans actually travelled to all their Four Nations games just to watch them.”
Walker said Kolo, a 100kg prop, was an immense talent.
“In the match against England, Kolo destroyed Sam Burgess and the English forward pack,” Walker said. “He has amazing potential.”
Wabo, a hooker or lock, has been plying his trade in England’s professional ranks for several years.
He became a cult favourite for England’s Championship One team the Hunslett Hawks and even has a Facebook appreciation page dedicated to him.
And John is a livewire dummy half or halfback who zips around the ruck.
“Both John and Wabo can play a variety of positions so they will add great depth to our team,” Walker said.
The trio will arrive in Ipswich just in time for the squad’s return to pre-season training on January 5. The Jets are on a two-week break from training.
When they return, there will be just one month before their first trial match against the Sydney Roosters on February 5.