PM XIII includes a few surprises


Rugby league's most promising youngsters have been rewarded for their outstanding N-R-L seasons by being named in the Australian Prime Minister's XIII team to play The Kumuls in Papua New Guinea.

Parramatta rookie of the year Jarryd Hayne, South Sydney's leading NRL tryscorer Nathan Merritt, Manly fullback Brett Stewart, Tigers hooker Robbie Farah and Newcastle halfback Jarrod Mullen have been handed their first senior representative honours with selection in Mal Meninga's team.

The match is on September 30. North Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston has earned another chance to press his claims for the Test No.7 jersey vacated by Andrew Johns with selection in the team, while Panthers halfback Craig Gower was named at five-eighth.

The team will assemble in Cairns on September 26 before heading to Port Moresby two days before the clash.

Australia: Brett Stewart (EAGLES), Jarryd Hayne (EELS), Amos Roberts (ROOSTERS), Kurt Gidley (KNIGHTS), Nathan Merritt (RABBITOHS), Craig Gower (PANTHERS), Johnathan Thurston (COWBOYS), Steve Price (WARRIORS), Robbie Farah (TIGERS), Brent Kite (EAGLES), Luke O'Donnell (COWBOYS), Paul Gallen (SHARKS), Trent Waterhouse (PANTHERS) Interchange: Jarrod Mullen (KNIGHTS), Anthony Tupou (ROOSTERS), Craig Stapleton (PANTHERS), Adam Woolnough (KNIGHTS)