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Aussies name PM’s 13 side to take on Papua New Guinea

MAL Meninga has named six debutants as part of the Australian Prime Minister’s 13 to take on Papua New Guinea Prime Minister’s 13 in Port Moresby on Sept 23.
Valentine Holmes, Andrew Fifita, Api Koroisau, Dylan Walker, Jack Bird and Paul Vaughan will take their place in the team travelling to PNG next week, with the match to be played at the National Football Stadium in the nation’s capital.
A further six players in the squad represented the Kangaroos in the Anzac test match earlier this year, with Tom Trbojevic the only player yet to have played a representative match at senior level.
With a little more than a month to go until the Rugby League World Cup, Meninga said the annual invitational match would be used as a genuine selection trial for players pushing for spots in the Kangaroos’ World Cup squad.
Meninga, pictured, looks forward to a tough match against PNG
“I’m absolutely delighted with this team. We’ve chosen the best available players in each position with 15 of the 18 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 timeframe and handles the occasion.”
Meninga also confirmed Wests Tigers captain Aaron Woods would skipper the PM’s XIII.
“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 PNG Prime Minister’s 13 team.”
The Prime Minister’s XIII will also be involved in a series of events alongside the Australian women’s team the Jillaroos including community visits and coaching clinics while on the ground in Port Moresby and are supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Australian PM’s 13: 1. James Tedesco (Tigers), 2. Dane Gagai (Knights), 3. Josh Dugan (Dragons), 4. Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles), 5. Valentine Holmes (Sharks)*, 6. Jack Bird (Sharks)*, 7. James Maloney (Sharks), 8. Aaron Woods – C (Tigers), 9. Api Koroisau (Sea Eagles)*, 10. Andrew Fifita (Sharks)*, 11. Tyson Frizell (Dragons), 12. Josh Papalii (Raiders), 13. Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles); 14. Wade Graham (Sharks), 15. David Klemmer (Bulldogs), 16. Dylan Walker (Sea Eagles)*, 17. Josh Jackson (Bulldogs), 18. Paul Vaughan (Dragons)*.
*Denotes PM’s 13 debut. – NRL.com
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