England Knights ace Sam Powell kitted out for PNG test
Sam Powell is bracing himself for fireworks in tomorrow's crunch showdown with the Kumuls.
The Warrior will start at hooker for England Knights in tomorrow’s international with PNG.
Powell made an energy-sapping 56 tackles in the Grand Final and hopes he doesn’t have to contend with as much traffic tomorrow, given the physicality of their opponents – as well as the heat and humidity.
“I watched PNG during the World Cup last year, and they’re very direct,” said Powell, one of the Knights’ vice-captains.
“I’ve been mixing it in the middle so it won’t be an easy job.
“We’ve trained in the heat and acclimatised so hopefully it shouldn’t be too bad.
“We obviously trained and played in Australia earlier in the year with Wigan, so I experienced it then.
“We trained at Cronulla and it was 39 degrees – had it got to 40, they would have cancelled the session, but it stayed at 39.
“That was tough, that was hard going.”
PNG is the only country in the world where rugby league is the national sport.
Generous Powell heard about how passionate there fans are for league merchandise and kit, he collected some training gear to take over and give away.
“We got 25kg baggage allowance and I had some spare room,” he said.
Powell has been joined in Paul Anderson’s squad by club-mate Tom Davies, who is also in the starting line-up for tomorrow.
They trained in Brisbane for a week before relocating to Lae for the match. They play a second game against the Kumuls at capital Port Moresby on November 3.
Powell, meanwhile, has had a chance to reflect on Wigan’s Grand Final success and said: “We had a great weekend, there were some sad moments with people leaving, but a lot of pride there.
“At club level I didn’t want it to end, the spirit was that good. The way we dug in for each other, the way we played, they were great times.”
The RFL is hoping to stream England Knights’ match against PNG on delay on their OurLeague app and website tomorrow.