PNG Kumul Mark Mexico’s recent move to the Cronulla Sharks has already left plenty of bodies ‘shaking like a live wire’.
Mexico’s debut in the VB NSW Cup last weekend left a few Manly youngsters rattled with the former Agmark Gurias player asserting his physical dominance in the Sharks’ 38-10 win at Brookvale Oval.
He was forced to start from the bench with the late inclusion of George Rose to Tony Herman’s side but when Mexico entered the field he certainly made his presence felt.
The 106-kilogram prop was busy, making 18 tackles and taking 14 hit ups in his 38 minutes on the field. He also gave the Sharks plenty of punch through the defensive line and several of his quick play the balls gave his backs some good go forward.
As Mexico explains, ironically, he could have been making his VB NSW Cup debut on the same day but in a different jersey.
“Manly were the first club to speak to me,” Mexico said on the sidelines at Brookvale Oval.
“I also spoke to some Super League teams and also the Sharks.”
He goes on to explain he is the beneficiary of a newly created development pathway in place in Papua New Guinea.
“You can play in a local league team, and then get selected for a Digicel Cup side,” Mexico added.
“From there you can play for the Hunters and that is where I got signed from.
“If you ask every player in the country (PNG) what they want, 100 percent would say the pathway now created is what they want.
“It’s important for our players to see that we can make it to the NRL through the pathway created in PNG.”
With plenty of talent running around for the Sharks in the VB NSW Cup, Cronulla coach Tony Herman believes Mexico will benefit greatly from learning off those around him.
“His first training session was Tuesday last week (before the Manly game),” Herman said.
“Having a Daniel Holdsworth there talking him through things, it’s going to be beneficial for him at training and in the games.
“The plan initially will be to use him from the bench.... he has some really good attributes like his rawness for football, he just loves football.
The Kamung Crushers junior is a poster boy for the hard work the game’s administrators are doing in PNG. Mexico has represented the Emerging Kumls (2011), the PNG Residents (2012) and also made his World Cup debut for the Kumuls senior side in the UK last year.
He isn’t the only Kumul in NRL systems either with the Penrith Panthers signing Mexico’s World Cup teammate Wellington Albert to play in their Holden Cup team in 2014.
Mexico will play his first home game for Cronulla at Remondis Stadium this weekend against the Newtown Jets as the Sharks look to force their way back into the VB NSW Cup top-eight.
If he can continue to learn in the VB NSW Cup, we may well hear an ‘oh, Mexico’ in the National Rugby League sometime in the near future.