17 Sep 2013

Strong PM's XIII for PNG

5:51 am on 17 September 2013

Australian rugby league coach Tim Sheens has named a surprisingly powerful side to represent the Prime Minister's XIII later this month against Papua New Guinea.

Sheens is leaving no stone unturned ahead of the World Cup in October in the UK and Ireland - so instead of the usual mixed squad of established stars, youngsters and veteran journeymen, the PM's team contains no less than nine players with test experience in the starting line-up.

North Queensland co-captains and Kangaroos certainties Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott are in the Kangaroos train-on squad following the Cowboys' controversial finals exit, along with the likes of Jarryd Hayne, Brent Tate, Greg Bird James Tamou and Sam Thaiday.

Centre's a particular conundrum, with incumbent Justin Hodges sidelined with a ruptured Achilles. So veteran Cowboy Tate and Canterbury's Josh Morris are both named in the PM's side for the match in Kokopo on September 29th.

The likes of Sydney Roosters flyer Michael Jennings and Newcastle bolter Dane Gagai are also considered candidates - though with both Jennings and Gagai's NRL sides still involved in the finals series, the pair weren't considered for selection in the team to play in PNG.

PM's XIII: Jarryd Hayne, Brett Morris, Brent Tate, Josh Morris, Kevin Gordon, Greg Bird, Aidan Sezer, Ryan James, Robbie Farah, James Tamou, Sam Thaiday, Josh Papalii, Corey Parker. Interchange: Gavin Cooper, Matt Gillett, David Shillington, Josh Reynolds. 18th man: Aiden Tolman