Kumuls captain David Mead has revealed that he may be forced to miss next weekend's clash with the PM's XIII in Port Moresby due to a finger injury that may require surgery.
With the PM's XIII team one of the strongest in recent memory and to be captained by Greg Inglis, Papua New Guinea officials named Mead and fellow NRL stars Nene Macdonald, Ray Thompson, Bulldogs-bound Rhyse Martin and Storm signing Justin Olam in a team that is dominated by members of the PNG Hunters team that competes in Queensland's Intrust Super Cup.
The Aquis Titans winger captained the Kumuls from fullback for the first time in their morale-boosting win over Fiji during the Representative Round earlier this year but says his place in the team for the game next Saturday at the National Football Stadium will be determined by a visit to the specialist on Monday.
The 27-year-old suffered ligament damage to a finger in the 18-all draw with the Sharks in Round 21 and will know on Monday whether he can make the trip to PNG later in the week.
"I've got to get my finger looked at on Monday," Mead told NRL.com.
"I'm meeting with the specialist on Monday and will make a decision from there. I may be getting surgery on it so I could miss out."
On the back of the Kumuls' win over Fiji and ahead of their hosting three games of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup next year, excitement in PNG will reach new heights when the PM's XIII team arrives late next week.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga is himself someone who is idolised by the people of PNG and Mead says that with the squad he has named the NRL players who have not experienced rugby league in PNG are in for something special.
Ten members of the starting 13 named by Meninga have played either Test or Origin football but there are two players in particular who Mead believes will prove most popular amongst the locals.
"Greg Inglis and Semi Radradra will be the two most popular I'd say," said Mead, who has played seven Tests for PNG.
"Papua New Guineans love their rugby league and those two are huge names up there so I'm sure everyone will be really excited to see them running out.
"There are plenty of Origin players there and it's going to be a huge test for the PNG boys up there but I'm sure the boys will turn up and put everything into the game."
This story first appeared on nrl.com.au