Mead scores hat-trick in record World Cup win
LISMORE junior David Mead finished with a hat-trick and set a new try-scoring record for Papua New Guinea in a dominant win first up in the Rugby League World Cup for the Kumuls.
He is captain of the PNG side with his three tries spearheading them to their biggest win in a World Cup match, beating Wales 50-6 in Port Moresby on Saturday.
PNG's previous greatest winning margin of 16 points was smashed as the Kumuls ran in 10 tries to one in a demolition of Wales, who suffered their worst World Cup defeat.
Mead, 28, was born in PNG before moving to Lismore where he played for Marist Brothers and went to high school at Kadina and Trinity Catholic College.
He went on to play 147 games at the Gold Coast Titans between 2009-2016 before linking up with the Brisbane Broncos during last season.
The opening siren was almost drowned out by the screams of the sold-out home crowd as the first Rugby League World Cup game hosted in Papua New Guinea began.
And it took just five minutes for PNG to capitalise on their home-ground advantage through Mead.
Mead received the ball 15 metres out from the Welsh goal line before a blistering turn of speed caught Wales off guard as the fullback planted the ball down in the corner for their opening try of the tournament.
Still riding a wave of momentum following their opening try, Mead found another way to the tryline for his second try in just 10 minutes.
In the 59th minute following a flurry of tries to start the second half, Mead became the first PNG player to score three tries in a World Cup match.
Diving on a James Segeyaro kick from hooker, he slammed the ball down to extend the Kumals lead and etch his name into PNG's history books.
On the stroke of full-time, Wales winger Regan Grace finally managed to cross into Papua New Guinea's goal line but it meant little as PNG celebrated an impressive win.
Leading the PNG Kumuls is a chance for Mead to finish the year on a positive note after coming in and out of the Broncos team this season with other wingers ahead of him in the starting side.
Most of the World Cup team is made of the PNG Hunters side who won the Queensland Cup for the first time last month.
Mead made his test debut for PNG in 2008 and went on to play in the World Cup that year.
The Kumuls next game is against Ireland at Port Moresby on Sunday before they take on the United States.