When Australia’s Prime Minister’s XIII face PNG at Sir John Guise Stadium this evening it will be without some of the most up and coming players from the rugby league mad nation.
Last year a ‘full strength’ PNG side including Hunters heroes Israel Eliab and Noel Zemming gave the Australian side a run for their money before going down 34-16 in Kokopo.
Earlier in the month PNG RL Chairman Sandis Tsaka said Hunters players would not be considered for selection as they were in finals contention with the potential of a history making Grand Final appearance at Suncorp Stadium. The Hunters dreams were shattered with a surprise exit in the Intrust Super Cup to Ipswich Jets in Brisbane last Sunday.
With the success of the Hunters it wouldn’t be a surprise if the annual September fixture since 2005 is moved into October to ensure player availability.
Players from the local competition have been selected in what will be a daunting, but exciting task to play against elite players in the National Rugby League.
The Australian side is coached by Ivan Cleary and will be skippered by his 2016 star recruit from the Dragons in Trent Merrin.
James Segeyaro will play at hooker in another sign the Gorokan born star is looking to represent Australia at the international level. It appears the division goes deep after PNG rugby league’s treatment received by his late father.
This game will be one way traffic in a total mismatch between professional and amateur. It’s unlikely to deter the rugby league mad nation with the change to get up close and personal with some rugby league superstars.
PNG XIII: 1. Watson Boas (Agmark Gurias), 2. Radley Brawa (TNA Lions), 3. Sydney Fred (Lae Snax Tigers), 4. Benjamin Hetra (Hela Wigmen), 5. Andrew Ipi (Hela Wigmen), 6. Chris Jerry (Agmark Gurias), 7. Noel Joel (Lae Snax Tigers), 8. Philemon Kimisive (Goroka Lahanis), 9. David Loko (Lae Snax Tigers), 10. Sam Maniai (Northern Confederate), 11. Isaac Mell (Mendi Muruks), 12. Moses Meninga (Mt Hagen Eagles), 13. David Missian (Agmark Gurias), 14. Justin Olam (Lae Snax Tigers), 15. Daniel Pai (Agmark Gurias), 16. Sebastine Pandia (SNS Port Moresby Vipers), 17. Albert Patak, 18. Junior Rau (Mt Hagen Eagles), 19. Enock Sine (TNA Lions), 20. Charlie Simon (Lae Snax Tigers).
AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTERS XIII: 1. Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders), 2. Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs), 3. Jarrod Croker (Canberra Raiders), 4. Dane Gagai (Newcastle Knights), 5. David Nofoaluma (Wests Tigers), 6. Kane Elgey (Gold Coast Titans), 7. Adam Reynolds (South Sydney Rabbitohs), 8. Jake Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles), 9. James Segeyaro (Penrith Panthers), 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Penrith Panthers), 11. Chris McQueen (South Sydney Rabbitohs), 12. Tepai Moeroa (Parramatta Eels), 13. Trent Merrin (c) (St George Illawarra Dragons), 14. Euan Aitken (St George Illawarra Dragons), 15. Jeremy Latimore (Penrith Panthers), 16. Daniel Mortimer (Gold Coast Titans), 17. Tom Symonds (Manly Sea Eagles), 18. David Tyrrell (South Sydney Rabbitohs)