SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 31: Apisai Koroisau of the Sea Eagles passes during the round five NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Manly Sea Eagles at Allianz Stadium on March 31, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Mal Meninga has named six debutants as part of the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII to take on Papua New Guinea Prime Minister’s XIII in Port Moresby on Saturday 23 September.

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.

“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.

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“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 Prime Minister’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 Papua New Guinea Prime Minister’s XIII team.”

The Prime Minister’s XIII will also be involved in a series of events alongside the Harvey Norman Jillaroos including community visits and coaching clinics while on the ground in Papua New Guinea and are supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Australian Prime Minister’s XIII Squad

Jack Bird (Cronulla Sharks)*
Josh Dugan (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)*
Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Dane Gagai (Newcastle Knights)
Wade Graham (Cronulla Sharks)
Valentine Holmes (Cronulla Sharks)*
Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
David Klemmer (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Api Koroisau (Manly Sea Eagles)*
James Maloney (Cronulla Sharks)
Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
James Tedesco (Wests Tigers)
Jake Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles)
Tom Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles)
Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra Dragons)*
Dylan Walker (Manly Sea Eagles)*
Aaron Woods (c) (Wests Tigers)

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*Denotes PMXIII debut

Coach: Mal Meninga


  1. Individually all these players look ok but Trying to figure out how this team would line up?
    Maloney the only half so guessing bird also in the halves, Which I think is dumb. No left centres so someone will have to switch sides.
    4 fullbacks. No utility, (but I think they’re pointless anyways). All the forwards look good.

    1. Tedesco
    2. Trbojevic
    3. Gagai
    4. Walker
    5. Holmes
    6. Bird
    7. Maloney
    8. Woods
    9. Koroisau
    10. Vaughan
    11. Graham
    12. Jackson
    13. Klemmer
    14. Fifita
    15. Trbojevic
    16. Frizzell.
    17. Papalli
    18. Dugan

    • They’ll add more players as teams get knocked out of the finals.
      Still, not a bad looking line up!
      maybe need a proper number 7. My guess will be Nathan Cleary.

        • Why is it always manly supporters posting the most stupid comments on this site ?
          Apparently tom trboyavic is already better than tedesco. Just ask holmsey.

        • Well you seem to have bucked the trend haven’t you? Grow up mate and come back when you have something to add to the discussion.

          For the record andyj, I think this is it, so I guess Bird will be playing at 6 outside Maloney. Why not pick DCE or Ash Taylor?

  2. Surprised only one half (not smartest move), don’t see the point in having Klemmer/Woods/Fifta/Trbojevic all in the squad when they are all almost gaurenetted a spot in the Kangaroos and only risk injury. However I do like Woods being chosen he is a good choice for captain and could do with a kick up the backside before the World Cup. If have like to seem in experianced players get tested at this level in this environment.
    1. Tredesco
    2. Trbojevic
    3. Walker
    4. Dugan
    5. Holmes
    6. Maloney
    7. ASH TAYLOR (give him a try)
    8. Woods (c)
    9. Koroisau
    10. Vaughan
    11. Jackson
    12. Graham
    13. Trbojevic

    14. Bird
    15. SHANNON BOYD (still young)
    16. Frizzell
    17. Pappali

    18. Ryan James/Jarrod Wallace

  3. Im really happy for all the manly boys but most of all Api Koroisau. The man has had a golden year off the field, found love, had a child and it has all gone back into those manly colours with his form. He was last year in and out of the team, drinking incident and lost his partner. So happy for him. I think he is a genuine bolter for the world cup, he is still young and is probably NSWs best hooker and a worthy understudy to Cam Smith in the World cup, makes an awesome utiliy also seeing as he can play halves and backrow. Well done Api.

    • While I am sure he will be in the discussion I think Friend or Granville will be Smith’s understudy in the World Cup. This is a good stepping stone for him though, and a deserved one.

      • Yeah Friend and Granville more than likely would get a spot over him but I think he has been in better form this year but those 2 are better players.

  4. Out of the squad youve got some bolters, players who will play more than likley and the ones under pressure.

    T Trbojevic

    Under pressure

    Certain for selection
    J Trbojevic

    Does anyone know how many will be in the world cup squad?

      • There are many better props that woods in my opinion, a player like Brown (yes I know you dont think he is ready yet, but I love the way he plays), Wallace or James should be given a go.

  5. Birds selection at 6 is because Meninga is thinking of having him as his utility for the WC. Other than that it’s a pretty solid team. For the WC tho, the squad will consist of 24 players and in my opinion I think Mal will choose a squad similar to this barring any injuries.

    Smith (C)
    Cordner (VC)



    • Great side but Jake T will start for Australia, I may be a manly fan but I think most can agree Jake is Australias best lock forward, he has alot more allround attributes on the table like his offload, ball playing ability, knack of sniffing out a try and his superb defence and its technique. He would start over McGuire any day of the week.

  6. Heres how I see it barring any futher injuries.

    1 Slater
    2 Boyd
    3 Chambers
    4 Gagai
    5 T Trbojevic
    6 Munster
    7 Cronk
    8 Woods
    9 Smith
    10 Klemmer
    11 Cordner
    12 Gillett
    13 J Trbojevic

    14 Morgan
    15 Papalii
    16 McGuire
    17 Napa

    18 Holmes
    19 Cleary
    20 Friend
    21 Jackson
    22 Walker
    23 Frizell
    24 Vaughan

    • I agree with Trobjevic, he’s built to do everything tbh. However I like how you left out Fifita as I think I would too, but I just think Mal won’t do it as he offers way more than any other prop other than Klemmer, Napa is real close to getting a call up tho and Munster I had in my 24, but I think Bird will tip him in utility given he can play in the forwards aswell. But if Storm win the comp, I think Mal will go with Munster as utility option and Morgan at 6 with Maloney to miss out. Cleary is a must for this World Cup. No Dugan and Ferguson with the origin series they had and the off field issues.

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