12th November 2019, 11:11 | great_britain
The Great Britain Rugby League Lions received a rapturous welcome upon arriving at Jackson International Airport in Papua New Guinea on Tuesday.
The Lions, who last toured PNG in 1996, joined the England Women’s side in the country ahead of Saturday’s historic double-header at the Oil Search Stadium in Port Moresby.
GB Assistant Coach Ian Watson, was hugely impressed with the reception the side were afforded:
“The welcome today at the airport for the boys was brilliant. It was a really good introduction to PNG. I’ve never been here myself before, and it’s really exciting to come to a place where rugby league is the national sport.
“We’re looking forward to meeting people and putting on a show for them on Saturday.
With Great Britain suffering a disappointing start to the tour, with three total defeats against Tonga and New Zealand, Watson is keen that the side take their opportunity to end the tour on a high in PNG, although admits it won’t be an easy task against the Kumuls.
“The PNG players are competitive; they always play for their shirt. They played really well against Fiji last weekend, they were full of passion and they work really hard for each other, so we’ll have to be at our best this weekend.
“We need to make sure we finish the tour with a win. We felt we improved in the first game against NZ, but last week we felt we took a little bit of a step back, so it’s about fixing a few of those things in training and taking them forward into the game.”
Elliott Whitehead, who has started all three games on tour thus far, was also delighted with the welcome, and concedes the team now need to give something back on the field.
“It’s been great so far – the locals have made us feel really welcome. It’s going to be a great experience so we’re really looking forward to it.
“We’ve been disappointing and have probably let ourselves down, but we’ve got one more game to play and we want to get that win. We’ve got a lot to fix but I’m sure we’re capable of doing that.”