The 30-year-old, originally from Wabag in Enga Province, made his Kumul debut as a 20-year-old as Kumul No. 218 in 2007 against Wales in Bridgend, Wales.
It will be a memorable occasion for him when he runs on for the Kumuls for the 11th time, but the first as captain.
“I thank coach Michael Marum for giving me the honour to captain PNG in this Test,” Griffin said from the team’s base in Sydney on Tuesday. “It’ll be great to lead the boys out on Saturday. Captaining your country, there’s nothing like it. Coming into camp, you see the smiles and it gives you the fire in your belly. You see the reason behind why you play, and especially for PNG where everyone loves footy so much, it’s hard to describe the feeling, it’s amazing.”
Griffin joined the Bulldogs this year after spending the past two seasons with Wests Tigers. The second rower will be assisted on the field by PNG Hunters captain Ase Boas as his deputy.
Meanwhile, the PNG LNG Kumuls’ preparations were dealt another blow when Willie Minoga was suspended by the QRL judiciary for two matches for a dangerous throw. This follows the late withdrawal of St George Illawarra Dragons winger Nene Macdonald on Monday due to an ankle injury sustained in their game against Melbourne Storm.
Coach Michael Marum confirmed that Minoga will return to Port Moresby on Wednesday. He will be replaced by fellow PNG Hunter Israel Eliab who will join the PNG LNG Kumuls in Penrith on Wednesday afternoon.
Stargroth Amean who was also cited for a similar offence during Saturday’s win over Northern Pride, entered an early guilty plea, has been cleared by the QRL judiciary and will take up his position at fullback on Saturday night.
PNG Kumuls Team is:
Stargroth Amean (Hunters)
Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm)
Nene McDonald (St George-Illawarra)
Thompson Teteh (Redcliffe Dolphins)
Alex Wera (Hunters)
Ase Boas (Hunters)
Watson Boas (Hunters)
Henry Wan (Hunters)
Wartovo Puara (Hunters)
Luke Page (Burleigh Bears)
Rhys Martin (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Rod Griffin (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Stanton Albert (Hunters)
Tommy Butterfield (Easts Tigers)
Wellington Albert (Hunters)
Willie Minoga (Hunters)
Nixon Put (Hunters)
Richard Pandia (Ipswich Jets)