Jillaroos to join PM’s XIII in PNG

Caption: Match action from the PNGRFL women’s national zone championships in Lae last Sunday where players were selected to form the train-on squad for the PNG Orchids.

The Harvey Norman Jillaroos will join the Prime Minister’s XIII for the very first time in Papua New Guinea in September to play their first ever match at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

The Jillaroos will take on the PNG national women’s side in the penultimate match of an exciting triple-header on Saturday 23rd September that will open with an under-16s match between the NSW Rugby League Young Achiever’s and a PNG Select side, before culminating with the annual PNG Kumuls and Prime Minister’s XIII clash.

A squad of 24-woman will be selected on Monday the 11th of September, before assembling on the Gold Coast for a training camp the following Sunday.

Jillaroos coach Brad Donald was looking forward to seeing his side take the field to create history in what is a genuine selection trial for the upcoming Women’s Rugby League World Cup in November.

“This is another fantastic step forward for the growth of the game and the exciting opportunities that our women’s rugby league pathway program provides,” Mr Donald said.

“It’ll undoubtedly be a memorable experience. Very few athletes ever get to represent their nation overseas, let alone in such a passionate rugby league-loving nation like Papua New Guinea, so I’ll be watching closely to see how everyone handles the occasion.”

Several NSW based Jillaroos representatives are likely to be excluded from national duties to participate in the NSWRL’s Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership final series in Sydney on the same weekend. However; Donald confirmed it will not affect their selection in the final squad for the World Cup later in the year.

“While the timing is unfortunate, selection for the final World Cup squad will be due to a player’s overall performances for their club, state and national teams, and not just those selected to play in PNG.”

The Jillaroos and Prime Minister’s XIII squads will also be involved in a series of events, 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).

History was made with the announcement of the inaugural Oil Search PNG Orchids train-on squad in Port Moresby on Tuesday at a ceremony attended by Lynda Babao-O’Neill, the wife of the Prime Minister, and officials from the PNGRFL, Rugby League World Cup 2017 and platinum sponsor Oil Search.

The 30-woman squad is: Elvinah Aaron (Southern), Helen Abau (Southern), Della Audama (Southern), Akosita Baru (Northern), Brenda Goro (Southern), Carol Humeu (Southern), Shirley Jerry (Highlands), Shirley Joe (Northern), Martha Karl (Northern), Gloria Kaupa (Highlands), Naomi Kaupa (Southern), Joan Kuman (Southern), Grace Mark (Northern), Janet Michael (Southern), Cathy Neap (Southern), Anne Oiufa (Highlands), Magreth Papo (Highlands), Christie Bulhage (Highlands), Barbara Sesel (Highlands), Elmah Turpa (NGI), Maima Wei (Southern), Jacobeth Wake (Northern), Freda Waula (Southern), Vero Waula (Southern).

Shadow players are Barbara Andrew (Northern), Atua Arek (Northern), Melisha James (Highlands), Annas Liliket (NGI), Mala Mark (Highlands), Fay Sogavo (Highlands). Coach is Dennis Miall.

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