Mal Meninga has named 11 NSW Blues to have played in the 2017 Origin series as part of the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII to take on the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister’s XIII in Port Moresby, on Saturday 23 September.
Blues front-rower Aaron Woods will captain the team, while 2017 Brad Fittler Medallist David Klemmer is set to bring impact from the interchange bench, as he did for NSW throughout the Origin campaign.
"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."
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.
"I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone gels together in a short timeframe and handles the occasion."
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
1. James Tedesco (Wests Tigers)
2. Dane Gagai (Newcastle Knights)
3. Josh Dugan (St George-Illawarra Dragons)
4. Tom Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
5. Valentine Holmes (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)*
6. Jack Bird (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)*
7. James Maloney (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
8. Aaron Woods (c) (Wests Tigers)
9. Api Koroisau (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)*
10. Andrew Fifita (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)*
11. Tyson Frizell (St George-Illawarra Dragons)
12. Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
13. Jake Trbojevic (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
14. Wade Graham (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
15. David Klemmer (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
16. Dylan Walker (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)*
17. Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
18. Paul Vaughan (St George-Illawarra Dragons)*
*Denotes PMXIII debut
Coach: Mal Meninga
The NSWRL senior competitions’ finals series, covered like never before on NSWRL.com.au and the NSWRL Facebook page, culminate on Grand Final Day at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday 24 September. Be there to witness history, with tickets just $10 for adults and children under 12 free.