Gold Coast Titans duo David Mead and Nene Macdonald along with Canberra Raiders hooker Kurt Baptiste have been named in the Papua New Guinea team to meet Fiji in the Pacific Test at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta next Saturday night.
Mead, who has not played for the Kumuls since the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, returns to the team having played for Country Origin in the Representative Round the past two seasons and told NRL.com his heart always remained with PNG.
“My heart is always there with PNG, being from there and living for 12 years there,” said Mead, who was unsure of how his representative eligibility would be affected in future had he been picked for Country.
“I know how much people love their rugby league up there so if that wasn’t to affect anything moving forward then I’d like to go with them.”
Macdonald was a standout for PNG in their 22-10 loss to Fiji last year on the Gold Coast while Baptiste is one of five debutants to have been named by coach Michael Marum.
Fellow Raider Kato Ottio has also been selected along with Wests Tigers forward Rod Griffin and 10 members of the PNG Hunters team that plays in Queensland’s Intrust Super Cup.
PNG team to play Fiji at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday, May 7:
1. David Mead (Titans), 2. Justin Olam (Hunters), 3. Kato Ottio (Raiders), 4. Nene Macdonald (Titans), 5. Stargroth Amean (Hunters), 6. Ase Boas (Hunters), 7. Watson Boas (Hunters), 8. Luke Page (Burleigh Bears), 9. Wartovo Puara Jnr (Hunters), 10. Henry Noki (Hunters), 11. Rhyse Martin (Townsville Blackhawks), 12. Rod Griffin (Wests Tigers), 13. Adam Korave (Hunters). Interchange: 14. Adex Wera (Hunters), 15. Brandy Peter (Hunters), 16. Willie Minoga (Townsville Blackhawks), 17. Kurt Baptiste (Raiders), 18. Timothy Lomai (Hunters). Coach: Michael Marum (Hunters)