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PNG v Fiji: Johnston and Kikau headline all star cast

If you like your footy hard, tough and fast then all roads lead to Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night for the showdown between the Kumuls and the Bati.

After Samoa and Cook Islanads have the set the scene in the earlier game it's over to PNG and Fiji to light up the stadium with some ferocious defence and flashy attack in their first clash since November, 2019.

On that occasion it was the Bati prevailing 22-20 in a thriller in Christchurch with Viliame Kikau and Tui Kamikamica among the tryscorers and Maika Sivo running for 214 metres.

Sivo has made a successful return from a knee reconstruction for the Eels and will be keen to add to his tally of two Test caps while Kikau will make his 12th appearance for his country and look to revive the glory days of the 2017 World Cup when Fiji made an emotional charge all the way to the semi-finals.

Sportsbet Betting preview: PNG v Fiji

Team News

Papua New Guinea

Tryscoring machine Alex Johnston wins his third Test cap for the Kumuls and will play fullback with Robert Derby (Northern Pride) and Solo Wane (PNG Hunters) taking the wing spots. Brisbane's David Mead will captain the side and forms a powerful centre combination with Melbourne's Justin Olam. Townsville Blackhawks star Kyle Laybutt and Rooster Lachlan Lam are the halves.

The forward pack features two more PNG Hunters reps in hooker Wartovo Puara and prop Sylvester Namo as well as Jacob Alick from the Gold Coast Titans. The Hunters' Junior Rop is 18th Man. The Kumuls are coached by Stanley Tepend.

Fiji

Lamar Manuel-Liolevave will start the game and Ralulu Nasoki added to the bench after second-rower Taniela Sadrugu dropped out of the side originally named on Tuesday.

Roosters veteran Kevin Naiqama will again captain the Bati in his 20th Test match and he'll play five-eighth alongside Nautu'a Masima from Wests Magpies. Panthers powerhouse Viliame Kikau has the honour of co-captaining his country in his 12th Test match. Wingers Maika Sivo and Mikaele Ravalawa, centres Semi Valemei and Waqa Blake and young Panthers fullback Sunia Turuva make up a powerful back five.

Storm prop Tui Kamikamica and Kikau lead the pack along wth Taane Milne at lock while Penioni Tagituimua from the Mounties club is the No.9.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Papua New Guinea is number 1 Alex Johnston
    Fullback for Fiji is number 1 Sunia Turuva
  • Winger for Papua New Guinea is number 2 Robert Derby
    Winger for Fiji is number 2 Mikaele Ravalawa
  • Centre for Papua New Guinea is number 3 David Mead
    Centre for Fiji is number 3 Semi Valemei
  • Centre for Papua New Guinea is number 4 Justin Olam
    Centre for Fiji is number 4 Waqa Blake
  • Winger for Papua New Guinea is number 22 Solo Wane
    Winger for Fiji is number 5 Maika Sivo
  • Five-Eighth for Papua New Guinea is number 6 Kyle Laybutt
    Five-Eighth for Fiji is number 6 Kevin Naiqama
  • Halfback for Papua New Guinea is number 7 Lachlan Lam
    Halfback for Fiji is number 7 Nautu'a Masima

Forwards

  • Prop for Papua New Guinea is number 8 Epel Kapinias
    Prop for Fiji is number 8 Joseph Ratuvakacerivalu
  • Hooker for Papua New Guinea is number 9 Wartovo Puara
    Hooker for Fiji is number 9 Penioni Tagituimua
  • Prop for Papua New Guinea is number 10 Sylvester Namo
    Prop for Fiji is number 10 Tui Kamikamica
  • 2nd Row for Papua New Guinea is number 11 Dan Russell
    2nd Row for Fiji is number 11 Viliame Kikau
  • 2nd Row for Papua New Guinea is number 12 Nixon Putt
    2nd Row for Fiji is number 16 Lamar Manuel-Liolevave
  • Lock for Papua New Guinea is number 13 Jacob Alick
    Lock for Fiji is number 13 Taane Milne

Interchange

  • Interchange for Papua New Guinea is number 14 Liam Horne
    Interchange for Fiji is number 14 Isaac Lumelume
  • Interchange for Papua New Guinea is number 15 Emmanuel Waine
    Interchange for Fiji is number 15 Pio Seci
  • Interchange for Papua New Guinea is number 16 McKenzie Yei
    Interchange for Fiji is number 17 Kaylen Miller
  • Interchange for Papua New Guinea is number 17 Dilbert Issac
    Interchange for Fiji is number 18 Ralulu Nasoki

Reserves

  • Replacement for Papua New Guinea is number 18 Junior Rop
    Replacement for Fiji is number 22 Waqasaqa Qiolevu

Match Officials

  • Referee: Todd Smith
  • Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
  • Senior Review Official: Matt Noyen

Last updated:

Key match-up

Alex Johnston v Mikaele Ravalawa

The Rabbitohs' greatest tryscorer of all time is a silky smooth mover who appears to glide across the turf at times while the Dragons' Fijian flyer favours brute strength as he method of making it to the tryline. Two of the NRL's most potent attacking weapons are ready to light up Campbelltown Stadium if they are given an inch of space. Whether it's Johnston going around his rivals or Ravalawa going over them, expect plenty of highlight reels from these two stars.

Stat attack

The Kumuls have played twice at Campbelltown Stadium for two wins while the Bati are 0-2 at this venue. The four internationals between the two sides have resulted in two wins apiece.

Justin Olam was in the thick of the action in 2018 when the Kumuls got the better of the Bati at this ground, scoring a try in the 26-14 triumph. The Storm star has scored six tries in nine Tests for the Kumuls.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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