GIANTS star Stanley Gene was made Papua New Guinea captain for the day as his nation took on the might of an Australian Invitational XIII at the Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville.
But it was a day the 30-year-old will probably want to forget as the Kumuls were trounced 70-22!
Not that any real blame could be attached to Gene and his hard-working countrymen.
Without the services of two of Papua New Guinea's most influential performers in Leeds winger Marcus Bai and Wigan half-back Adrian Lam, who faced each other in the Super League Grand Final eliminator on at Headingley on Friday night, the visitors were always going to find it tough against their powerful hosts.
And to make matters worse, the mighty Australians fielded 11 players expected to figure heavily in the upcoming Tri Nations against Great Britain and New Zealand.
Following an outstanding season with North Queensland Cowboys, Kangaroos full-back Matthew Bowen impressed on his international debut, scoring three tries and kicking three goals.
His performance will give Australian coach Wayne Bennett something to think about when he selects his team for the eagerly-awaited showdown with New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.
Bowen is vying with Roosters full-back Anthony Minichiello for the No1 green and gold jersey.
As well as Bowen's hat trick, wingers Matt Cooper (St George Illawarra) and Luke Rooney (Penrith) scored doubles, while skipper Brett Kimmorley (Cronulla) kicked five goals as the Kangaroos built on a 38-4 half-time lead.
Papua New Guinea were also not without their stars, with highly-rated centre Ricky Sibiya crossing twice and kicking three goals.
The talented Sibiya showed genuine pace in scoring his second try where he picked up the crumbs of a poor Ben Kennedy pass and outsprinted noted speedster Bowen over 60 metres to the tryline.
Gene and his Kumuls now head home ahead of next weekend's game against an Australian Schoolboys side, while Bennett's Kangaroos squad will prepare for the Tri-Series opener.
Included in the Tri Nations series is the Great Britain v New Zealand clash at the Galpharm Stadium on Saturday, November 6 (6.15), with ticket sales for the contest starting to build momentum.