Holbrook parts way with Kumuls

Thursday, 4 July 2024, 4:00 pm

Outgoing Kumuls head coach Justin Holbrook (Supplied)

PNG Kumuls head coach seat has been left vacant by Justin Holbrook after he tenured his resignation to take up a new role with the Australian Kangaroos.

Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League [PNGRFL] chief executive officer Stanley Hondina in a media statement confirmed that he was notified by Holbrook of his unavailability to be head coach of the PNG LNG Kumuls for the end of the year’s international duties.

The announcement comes after Holbrook, who steered the PNG LNG Kumuls to its 2023 Pacific Bowl victory gave notice that he would be moving on from PNG’s national men’s team in 2024.

“It is with mixed emotions that I have stepped down as Head Coach of the Kumuls.I thoroughly enjoyed coaching the team and winning the Pacific Bowl Championships last year in PNG. To witness the passion for rugby league from all the players, staff and everyone in their country was unbelievable,” Holbrook said.

“I have taken up a role as the Australian Assistant Coach for the Pacific Championships under Mal Meninga for this year's series against New Zealand and Tonga. Both series run at the same time so unfortunately I cannot continue as Kumuls Coach.”

Holbrook added, “I want to thank the PNGRFL for the opportunity to be Head Coach. It was an experience I loved. The PNG people were so welcoming of me to their country. The love that they have for their team, and opposition teams, shows how much Rugby League means to the people of PNG.”

Hondina has upheld the Sydney Roosters assistant coach's decision to move on and said PNGRFL would soon release a formal advertisement of the vacancy of Kumuls head coach post.

With Holbrook assuming a coaching role for the Kangaroos side, means current assistant coach and Leigh Leopards boss Adrian Lam would be stood down but could take up and opportunity with Kumuls.

Lam initially declined the top job during World Cup but the unavailability of Holbrook could pave way for him to steer the national outfit in the 2024 Prime Minister’s XIII and the Pacific Championships.

NRL is yet to release the dates of both games as PNG look to defend the Bowl title in Fiji.