The Australian Rugby League has today announced Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s first Prime Minister’s XIII to play Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby on Sunday, September 26, as part of a three-day visit to highlight the strong partnership between the two countries and deliver critical health messages to the local community.

The match, at Lloyd Robson Oval, is the culmination of a series of activities in conjunction with AusAID and the Papua New Guinea Rugby League that will bring the Prime Minister’s XIII and PNG Kumuls together with the community to talk about the importance of staying safe on and off the field.

In a country which has the highest rate of HIV and AIDS in the Pacific – about 0.9% of the population is living with HIV – the visit will take the Prime Minister’s XIII out into the community to deliver critical messages to locals about being fit and healthy including protecting themselves from HIV and AIDS and protecting women from violence.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard today wished coach Mal Meninga and his team well: “This will be a tough contest and I know our side will be determined to win.

“Whoever gets over the line on the day, I’m sure the Australian team will do us proud, both on and off the field.

“I wish Mal and the team all the best, both in their community work and in the forthcoming match.”

Brisbane Broncos lock Corey Parker will captain the Prime Minister’s XIII, which will be coached by Meninga for the sixth consecutive year. North Queensland Cowboys coach Neil Henry has this year joined the coaching staff.

“To be selected for the Prime Minister’s XIII is a great honour and I’m really looking forward to captaining the side,” Parker said today.

“This visit is not just about a football game though, it’s a real chance for us to make a difference to the people of PNG.

“PNG is the only country in the world where Rugby League is the national sport and we’re hoping the community’s incredible passion for the game helps us reach them with some important health messages about HIV and AIDS and eliminating violence against women.”

2010 ARL Prime Minister’s XIII (in alphabetical order)


Matthew Bowen (North Queensland Cowboys)
 
Luke Douglas (Cronulla Sharks)
 
Michael Ennis (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
 
Blake Ferguson (Cronulla Sharks)
 
Matt Gillett (Brisbane Broncos)
 
Jason King (Manly Sea Eagles)
 
Micheal Luck (Warriors)
 
James Maloney (Warriors)
 
Tim Mannah (Parramatta Eels)
 
Jarrod Mullen (Newcastle Knights)
 
Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos) (c)
 
Chris Sandow (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
 
Ben Smith (Parramatta Eels)
 
Kade Snowden (Cronulla Sharks)
 
David Taylor (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
 
Willie Tonga (North Queensland Cowboys)
 
Akuila Uate (Newcastle Knights)
 
Tony Williams (Manly Sea Eagles)