Joshua Nani, 24, from Ogulbeng in Western Highlands and Raiven Jonah, 20, from Kwalimbo in Kagua-Erave in the Southern Highlands, will arrive in the Cook Islands today.
The duo will feature for the Sea Eagles against the defending champions Titikaveka Bulldogs in tomorrow’s premier clash at Nukupure Park.
Sea Eagles coach Tamaiva Tuavera said players were excited at the inclusion of the PNG duo in their side.
He is hoping their inclusion will help the team turn their season around when the competition enters round two next weekend.
Sea Eagles are on fifth spot with four points after five matches in the competition points table.
The side endured a difficult start with consecutive losses before recording wins against minnows Aitutaki Sharks and TKV Warriors.
“We have had players from Samoa and Fiji in the past playing for our club and we thought, why don’t we bring some players from PNG which is the top rugby league playing country in the region behind Australia and New Zealand,” Tuavera said.
“We got scouts in PNG and they have helped us identify these two players who are national reps and have featured for the PNG Kumuls.
“All the clubs we play here have about six to seven Fijians and Samoans playing for them, so we got to do something and we decided to go to PNG instead and bring players from there. Soon other clubs will be copying the Sea Eagles and bringing players from PNG.”
The two Papua New Guineans were scouted from the Coca-Cola Ipatas Cup, dubbed the biggest and richest rugby league competition in PNG.
Ipatas Cup chief executive officer Timothy Lepa told the Post Courier that the Sea Eagles had reached an agreement with the Coca-Cola Ipatas Cup management to share the experience and talent of players in a “sister” relationship.
He said the arrangement would also provide an opportunity for the Cook Islanders to have a stint with the Enga Mioks in the semi-professional rugby league challenge, the Digicel Cup, in PNG. - RK
Premier: Eels 11, Panthers 9, Bulldogs 5, Bears 5, Sea Eagles 4, Sharks 2, Warriors 0. Reserves: Eels 8, Panthers 8, Bears 2, Bulldogs 0, Warriors 0. U19: Bears 4, Bulldogs 4, Sea Eagles 0.
Today: Teimurimotia Park at 5pm – U19s, Bulldogs v Sea Eagles (Bears bye). Tomorrow: Victoria Park, Tupapa at 5pm – Premiers, Panthers v Sharks. Saturday: Nukupure Park, Ngatangiia at noon – Junior Development; 3pm – Premier Reserves, Eels v Bulldogs (Panthers bye); 4.30pm – Premiers, Sea Eagles v Bulldogs; Raemaru Park, Arorangi at 3pm – Bears v Warriors; 4.30pm – Premiers.