Kumuls debutant winger Robert Derby grew up “all over PNG” as part of a globetrotting childhood that took him from Mendi to Vietnam, and eventually to Far North Queensland.
The 20-year-old, who plays for Cairns-based Northern Pride in the Hostplus Cup, told PNG Kumuls Media about his upbringing.
“My Mum is from a small village called Busamung in Morobe. She lived there until she was 18 and then moved around PNG. She was living in Mendi when she was pregnant with me but had to go to Port Moresby to give birth, so I was born there. I grew up in Mendi, Busamung, Goroka, Mount Hagen, pretty much everywhere because my Dad was a civil engineer so wherever he went for work, we went too.
“I was about four years old when we moved to Vietnam for his work, but we went back and forth between Vietnam and PNG until I was about seven, and when I was eight we moved to Cairns but still went back to PNG three or four times a year.”
Now settled in Far North Queensland, the youngster has been picked up by the North Queensland Cowboys as part of their young guns program until at least the end of 2023 and will soon begin training full-time with their NRL squad. But first, he is relishing the opportunity to represent his country.
“The Kumuls camp has been an unreal experience so far, just getting around the boys. Everyone is so friendly and wants to get to know you. It has just been a privilege, but it’s not a given thing. We all deserve to be here and we all worked pretty hard to get here, so hopefully we can rip in today’s game”