League elite touch down in Cairns
FAR North rugby league fans can get close to some of the NRL's elite tomorrow when the Australian Prime Minister's XIII visits Cairns.
The representative team, which is coached by Maroons mentor Mal Meninga, will hold an open training session at Jones Park (Mann St grounds) from 3.30pm, with players available to sign autographs afterwards.
Titans halfback Scott Prince is captaining the side, which also features Darius Boyd (Knights), Akuila Uate (Knights) and Michael Jennings (Panthers).
Later in the evening, the PM’s XIII will attend a Men of League dinner at Brothers Leagues Club.
They then fly out the following day for Papua New Guinea to prepare for Sunday’s match against the Kumuls in Port Moresby.
Last week, Gold Coast’s Jamal Idris (hip) and William Zillman (shoulder) and Brisbane quartet Ben Hannant (wrist), Matt Gillett (shoulder), Peter Wallace (shoulder) and Corey Parker (knee/shoulder) were ruled out of the September 23 clash in Port Moresby. Penrith’s Michael Jennings moved from the wing into Idris’ centre spot, with Beau Ryan (Wests Tigers) coming on to the flank.
Parramatta’s Tim Mannah filled Hannant’s frontrow spot from the bench and Ben Te’o replaced his Broncos teammate Gillett in the backrow, while Cronulla’s Wade Graham came in for Parker.
St George Illawarra’s Dan Hunt, Sydney Roosters’ Martin Kennedy, Parramatta’s Matthew Ryan and Cronulla’s Nathan Stapleton joined the extended bench.
The PM’s XIII team: Darius Boyd, Akuila Uate, Michael Jennings, Chris Lawrence, Beau Ryan, Lachlan Coote, Scott Prince (capt), Aaron Woods, Andrew McCullough, Tim Mannah, Ben Te’o, Feleti Mateo, Wade Graham. Interchange: Dan Hunt, Martin Kennedy, Josh McGuire, Matthew Ryan, Nathan Stapleton.
In other news, Mareeba’s Ben Hampton has been added to the Junior Kangaroos train-on squad to play the Junior Kiwis in an end-of-season Test in Townsville on October 13.
Hampton is a member of the Storm’s under-20s side and represented Queensland earlier this year.
Tickets are still available for the Men of League dinner. For more information, contact Peter Narducci on 0411 597 316.
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Close and personal: Maroons mentor Mal Meninga will be in Cairns tomorrow with the Australian Prime Minister's XIII as they prepare for their clash against the Kumuls in Port Moresby on Sunday.