Sport: PM's league match still important despite depleted lineup

12:40 pm on 15 September 2017

Australia's rugby league coach Mal Meninga insists the Prime Minister's XIII international game holds importance, heading into next month's Rugby League World Cup despite a depleted PNG side being named to meet his team.

Eleven players with test experience have been selected for the September 23 clash in Port Moresby.

Cronulla playmaker James Maloney and fellow Sharks enforcer Andrew Fifita are among a group of players hoping to use the match to press for World Cup selection with West Tigers and Blues Prop Aaron Woods captaining the side .

NRL Kangaroos and Cronulla Sharks prop Andrew Fifita

Barnstorming forward Andrew Fifita will hope to catch the eye on September 23 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Meninga's team will meet a weakened PNG team because the minor premiership winning Hunters are playing in the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final the next day.

But he said the game was about respecting the green and gold jersey and the opposition.

PNG Rugby League Chairman Sandis Tsaka admitted the scheduling is not ideal but the home side would still present a challenge for the Australians.

"It is a very strong team. With the finals happening, in all our international competitions, the team has been put together," Tsaka said.

"It's a formidable team.

"We know the Australians have named a strong team but the team that has been put together by the coach of this team will do the country proud."

The PNG Prime Ministers XIII coach Michael Marum said his players will have to rely on national pride to carry them through the challenge of their Australian counterparts.

He said the players won't have much time together.

"They just have to get together and know each other well," Marum said.

"There is nothing you can do in one week.

"There will probably be only four or five sessions so the main thing is for them to get to know each other well and out there on Saturday they will be playing for each other with pride and representing their country," he said.

PNG Hunters and Kumuls coach Michael Marum.

PNG Hunters and Kumuls coach Michael Marum. Photo: PNG Rugby League

PNG Prime Minister's XIII:

Brendon Gutano (Vipers)

Charilie Simon (Tigers)

Dilbert Issac (Gurias)

Eddie Daffa (Lahanis)

Jason Mission (Gurias)

Joe Joshua (Tigers)

John Andy (Tigers)

Joshua Nane (Mioks)

Junior Rau (Wigmen)

Junior Rop (Tigers)

Karo Kauna Jnr (Hunters)

Muka Peter Kulu (Hunters)

Sailas Gahuna (Hunters)

Stanford Talita (Wigmen)

Stanley Olo (Gurias)

Timothy Lomai (Tigers)

Tuvi Lepan (Gurias)

William Mone (Hunters)

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)

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)