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Martin to play 17 test matches for the Kumuls

The former PNG Kumuls captain and incumbent Leeds Rhinos second-rower, Rhyse Martin, will play his 17 test matches for PNG when he and the Kumuls take on the Fiji Bati in the final game of the Pacific Championship Bowl challenge on Sunday, November 5, at Santos National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

When Martin runs out to the field on Sunday, he will become the most capped Kumuls player of all-time, eclipsing the record set by three former Kumuls great in Stanley Gene, Paul Aiton and John Wilshere, who have played 16 test matches for the Kumuls, respectively. He is also PNG’s greatest Test point-scorer and goal-kicker.

The 29-year-old is the only surviving Kumul from 2014. He made his debut for the Kumuls that year and cemented his spot in the starting lineup, wearing the red, black and gold jumper on 16 occasions. Sunday will be his 17 time to run for the country, donning the tri-colors on his chest with pride and honor.

“I have been playing for the Kumuls since 2014, but we have only probably had one test a year for five or six years, so it’s a pretty special moment,” Martin said.

“For me, it’s a good personal achievement, but I’m just happy that I’m still capable to play and make this team, so I’m just proud of that.”

Most of Martin’s teammates have retired, been dropped or ruled out due to injury. He is fortunate and blessed to continue represent his beloved country after nine years. He reminisced the first time he made his debut for the Kumuls in 2014 in Lae, Morobe Province.

“The first time I came and played for the Kumuls in 2014, we played Tonga up in Lae, and that was an experience I remember to this day,” he recalled.

The soft-spoken seasoned campaigner is relishing his footy career at the moment. Although age is catching up with him, he still plays at a top-tier level, competing fiercely every week and endeavoring to make his presence felt not just in the Super League, but on the international arena as well.

The Kumuls are eager to redeem themselves and give Martin a fitting win on his historic milestone, but the flamboyant Fiji Bati outfit are poised to spoil the party and walk away with the silverware.

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