PNG v Great Britain: Kumuls determined to leave Lions 'sore' in tour finale

By Andrew AloiaBBC Sport
Luke Page celebrates a World Cup win for PNG
Luke Page qualifies to play for PNG as both his father and grand father were born and raised in the country
Papua New Guinea v Great Britain Lions
Date: Saturday, 16 November Kick-off: 07:30 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC Two from 07:00 GMT, repeat on BBC Red Button at 11:30 GMT, live text commentary on BBC Sport website; highlights on BBC Two at 16:30 GMT, repeat on BBC Red Button 20:00-23:45 GMT.

Meet the patio-building prop who is determined to send Great Britain home hurting.

Luke Page, best known as the White Kumul who also moonlights as a DJ, will line up for Papua New Guinea against a Lions side that have already been savaged on their comeback tour, losing all three Test matches so far - against Tonga and New Zealand.

Look up 'one minute of Luke Page' on YouTubeexternal-link to get a sense of what the travel-weary tourists have to contend with on the final leg of their trip.

"Gee, that clip did the rounds didn't it?" the 28-year-old laughed.

"I need to do my job in the middle, run hard or and set it up for the backs to put their finesse and speed on things.

"If I get bashed, I get bashed but will give back just as much.

"We will do the best we can and if we can leave the field proud of what we have done, then that's all we can do. Regardless - win, lose or draw - the Lions will definitely leave the field sore because we will give it everything we can.

"There is a good feeling in the camp at the moment and we want to leave the Lions 0-4 on tour. We are excited to try to roll these fellas."

'It's been a long time between drinks'

The Lions' first trip to the South Pacific nation for 23 years offers a PNG side made up of an eclectic mix of talent - including players from Australia's NRL, Super League and lower league clubs in Britain as well as the nation's own professional side - a rare shot at one of the game's most iconic teams.

Michael Marum's PNG side spent part of this week watching historic battles between the two nations, with the Kumuls famously overcoming Great Britain in 1990 and pushing them to the brink on their last visit in 1996.

For Page, who has won two Intrust Super Cup premierships with the Burleigh Bears after giving up on an NRL career that amounted to just one appearance for St George in 2015, it is a chance to showcase himself in a game that evokes great passion in the country.

"It has been a long time between drinks and we are all excited to host Great Britain in little, old PNG," Page told BBC Sport.

"Obviously I don't get to play against these high-calibre players every week, so that's surreal for me but I'll take every opportunity I can to play footy at this level.

"It's pleasing that the hard work and effort I've put in is rewarded with a game like this."

'Working on the tools helped me enjoy the game again'

Luke Page with workmate Anthony Aloia
Luke Page (right) juggles his rugby league career with a full-time job in construction with Anthony Aloia

After failing to establish himself in Australia's top-flight competition after being on the books at Gold Coast Titans, Canberra Raiders and St George Illawarra, Page says it was working as a tradesman that reinvigorated him on the field.

In his first season "back on the tools" in 2016, he helped the Bears win the premiership and in 2019 he went on to captain them to glory once more.

He was also part of the PNG Kumuls side that reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2017, a run that was eventually ended by England.

"It helped me enjoy playing footy again," said Page, who also "loves dropping the bass" as DJ Moey Fresh in his spare time.

"I don't see it as a full-time job any more, which is the way I looked at it in the NRL.

"It is long days, no doubt, when you have to work and train, but I'm really happy with what I'm doing right now."

And that means building patios and carports on the Gold Coast one week and trying to wrestle the Great Britain Lions the next.

Even after a number of years representing the country where both his grandfather and father were born and raised, Page says the experience of wearing the yellow, red and black of PNG remains "unreal".

"We went bowling earlier and on the way into the place we had hundred photos taken and on the way out it was another hundred," he said.

"It is definitely pretty full on here, but that is the passion that PNG has for rugby league. It's very humbling.

"You come here and are an absolute super star and then go back to Australia and back on the tools doing your trade and are pretty much just an average Joe Blow. I take it in as much as I can."

Top Stories