Kangaroo Invitational 13 thump
Kumuls

The Kangaroos have laid down the challenge a week out from their clash with the Kiwis.

The Australian Invitational 13 has trounced Papua New Guinea 70-22 in a warm-up match in North Queensland.

In a sometimes clumsy affair, highlighted by a mountain of handling errors from both sides, the Kangaroos raced in 13 tries, but not before the plucky Kumuls scored two of the first three second-half tries.

In the end the class of the Australians, featuring 11 players expected to figure heavily in the upcoming Tri-Series, shone through against the young Kumuls team.

Following an outstanding season with the North Queensland Cowboys, Kangaroos fullback Matthew Bowen had a night out in his international debut, scoring three tries and kicking three goals.

His performance will give Australian coach Wayne Bennett something to think about when he selects his Australian team for the Tri-Series opener against New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.

Bowen is vying with Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello for the No.1 green and gold jersey.

It was Bowen's third try in the dying stages of the match that really set the crowd alight.

The speedy No.1 flew onto a superb short ball from former Townsville schoolboy and Brisbane Bronco Sam Thaiday.

Coming off the bench, the monstrous Thaiday had a strong game as did the six other Australian Under-19 players included in coach Wayne Bennett's 18-man team.

Aside from Bowen's hat-trick, wingers Matt Cooper (St George Illawarra) and Luke Rooney (Penrith) scored doubles, while skipper Brett Kimmorley (Cronulla) kicked five goals as the Kangaroos built on a 38-4 halftime lead.

The Kumuls were also not without their stars with centre Ricky Sibiya crossing twice and kicking three goals.

The talented Sibiya showed genuine pace in scoring his second try where he picked up the crumbs of an errant Ben Kennedy pass and outsprinted noted speedster Bowen 60 metres to the try-line.

The Kumuls now head home ahead of next weekend's game against an Australian Schoolboys side, while Bennett's Kangaroos squad will prepare for the Tri-Series opener.

AUSTRALIAN INVITATIONAL XIII 70 (M Bowen 3 L Rooney 2 M Cooper 2 B Tate S Hill N Hindmarsh T Learoyd C Phelps J Frizzo tries B Kimmorley 5 M Bowen 3 C Phelps goals) defeated PAPUA NEW GUINEA 22 (R Sibiya 2 P Aiton D Sibiya tries R Sibiya 3 goals) at Dairy Farmers Stadium. Crowd: 6,783. Referee: M Inmann.

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