Stanley Gene returns as Kumuls coach
"Ageless" Papua New Guinea legend Stanley Gene will return to the international rugby league stage this weekend ... but as a coach not a player. <br><br> Gene, who retired from representative rugby league after the 2008 World Cup and 13 years in the national team, was this week appointed coach of the Kumuls and will make his debut against the Mal Meninga-coached Prime Minister's XIII in Papua New Guinea this Sunday (Sept 26). <br><br> Gene will steer the Kumuls in their first Four Nations tournament next month following the resignation of Adrian Lam, who wanted to focus on his coaching role with the Dragons and their Telstra Premiership Finals campaign. <br><br> It is believed Gene is looking to secure the services of former England coach Tony Smith, brother of Roosters coach Brian Smith, as an assistant for the Four Nations tournament involving Australia, England, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in seven Tests from October 23 to November 13. Their first match will be against Australia at Parramatta on October 23. <br><br> Gene played under Smith at Huddersfield during his Super League career spanning 1996-2009. He is currently playing with Halifax RLFC in the Co-operative Championship in England. <br><br> PMXII and Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga said Gene was highly respected and an experienced international who would enjoy his new role. <br><br> "He hasn't coach before but he has a lot of experience on the international scene and he played in England for years in Super League," he said. <br><br> "I think he will enjoy it. This match (on Sunday) will be good for him and they have a lot of young kids who will benefit a lot from it too for the Four Nations." <br><br> Wikipedia reports Gene's age as 36, but many in rugby league circles have "estimated" anything up to 58, although early 40s is believed to be closest to the mark. <br><br> Wikipedia has dedicated a section to Gene's age which it says "has long been a subject of contention and many running jokes amongst rugby league fans. It is generally accepted that Gene was born after the end of World War II, with most estimations stating he is between 32 and 58 years old. <br><br> "Gene himself has stated for many years that he is 34, but this is questionable as he allegedly captained PNG U21s in 1989, and he has been unable to provide a birth certificate or any other proof of his date of birth. In 2008, Brian Noble claimed to have seen a passport that says that Gene is actually 42."