Gene wants Kumuls to “live the dream”
Papua New Guinea coach Stanley Gene has encouraged the home-based Kumuls to “put themselves on the shop window” and use the 2010 Four Nations tournament starting this weekend to change their lives as he did 15 years ago. <br><br> The legendary Gene, 36, made his international coaching debut last month (against Mal Meninga’s Prime Minister’s XIII) after a 15-year playing career spanning the European Super League (1996-2009) and the national team (1995-2008). <br><br> “I have told them to put themselves on a shop window and maybe your life will change,” he said. “My life changed and I am still living the dream, waking up in the morning thinking am I really in England. I want them to experience that.” <br><br> Gene said just coming to Australia was like the “trip of a lifetime” for some of the home-based players and his challenge was to keep them focused for the three-week Four Nations tournament involving Australia, England, New Zealand and PNG. <br><br> “Some of them have never been on a big plane before,” he said. “Everything is an eye-opener. <br><br> “Today has also been pretty special with the team getting Blades playing boots and other training gear. When I was a boy I played barefoot. Some of them today hardly wear boots and if they do they don’t have the money to buy $100 shoes.” <br><br> The Kumuls will open their Four Nations campaign against tournament favourites Australia at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday and Gene said Kangaroos coach Time Sheens should “expect the unexpected”. <br><br> “That’s our motto,” he said “We always play entertaining football. We’re the underdogs. We have nothing to lose. <br><br> “I want them to compete well but my goals are not just about this tournament. I’d like to see 3-4 players get the chance to play in the QLD Cup or NSW or even England. That would be an achievement for me. <br><br> “The more home-based players playing abroad, the better for the country. They will get good coaching and the chance to make a living.” <br><br> Gene got the opportunity to coach the Kumuls last month when former team-mate Adrian lam stood down and as a rookie coach he relies on his former Huddersfield coach Tony Smith as his mentor. Smith, the brother of Roosters coach Brian Smith, was the England coach in the 2008 World Cup. <br><br> “I wanted to coach my country one day, but I didn’t expect it to happen soon,” he said. “Every job you do is a challenge. Experience comes with doing it. <br><br> “Tony Smith is my mentor. He is very busy in England but we talk on the phone a lot. I am also good friends with (current England coach) Steve McNamara back in England and we speak to each other every other day.” <br><br> For more information on the 2010 Four Nations go to <a href="http://www.rlfournations.com">www.rlfournations.com</a> and join us on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/fournations">Facebook</a>.