Meninga gives rookies Prime spot for PNG clash
AUSTRALIA will unleash six debutants as part of the Australian Prime Minister's XIII to take on Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby on Saturday 23 September.
Mal Meninga named his team on Wednesday with the likes of Api Koroisau, Dylan Walker, Jack Bird and Paul Vaughan part of the PM's side for the first time.
With a little more than a month until the World Cup, Meninga said the annual invitational match would be used as a genuine selection trial for the Kangaroos' World Cup squad.
"I'm absolutely delighted with this team. We've chosen the best available players in each position with fifteen of the eighteen players having represented their State already,” Meninga said.
"To get these guys together so close to the Rugby League World Cup is a real coup for our preparations, which will really kick into gear following the NRL Grand Final.
"Some of them have been fortunate enough to have already experienced playing in PNG, but for the new guys, it really is something to cherish. There's nothing else quite like it.
"I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone gels together in a short time frame and handles the occasion.”
Aaron Woods will skipper the side.
"Aaron has been a fantastic leader at Club and State level for a number of years now and has fully earned this honour,” Meninga said.
"I'm looking forward to seeing him lead from the front on Saturday week against an always tough, physical and entertaining Papua New Guinea Prime Minister's XIII team.”
The team will travel to PNG next week, with the match to be played at the National Football Stadium in the nation's capital.
AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER'S XIII:
James Tedesco (Wests Tigers)
Dane Gagai (Newcastle Knights)
Josh Dugan (St George-Illawarra Dragons)
Tom Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Valentine Holmes (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)*
Jack Bird (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)*
James Maloney (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
Aaron Woods © (Wests Tigers)
Aaron Woods and teammates assemble for a team photograph.
Aaron Woods and teammates assemble for a team photograph.Source:AAP
Api Koroisau (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)*
Andrew Fifita (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)*
Tyson Frizell (St George-Illawarra Dragons)
Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
Jake Trbojevic (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
Wade Graham (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
David Klemmer (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Dylan Walker (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)*
Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Paul Vaughan (St George-Illawarra Dragons)*
Coach: Mal Meninga
- Denotes PMXIII debut