Future Panthers teammates get acquainted in PNG
Panthers hooker James Segeyaro and prized 2016 Penrith recruit Trent Merrin say they are looking forward to getting acquainted on the Prime Minister's XIII trip to Port Moresby, with a chance to get in some early work building their combination for next year.
The departing Dragons lock has been named captain of the talented PM's XIII outfit and told NRL.com before departing of his pride in being given the honour by the Australian selectors.
"I was very honoured and privileged when I got the phone call and was told I was going to be captain. It's definitely something you aspire to be. To get that recognition, I'm definitely very honoured," Merrin said.
It will be the 25-year-old Test and Origin star's first trip to the country but he said he has been given a few pointers about what to expect.
"From what I've heard it's definitely an eye opener. I'm looking forward to it. They do give us a very warm welcome from what I've been told so it's definitely something I'm looking forward to being a part of," he said.
"It just makes you realise what you actually do have, it's definitely going to be great to go there and give a bit back and spread the word of rugby league."
Rugby league is like a religion in PNG and Segeyaro, as a PNG-born NRL star, will be a very big deal there according to Merrin – who will be heading to the country for the first time.
"'Chicko' [Segeyaro] is a god over there I've heard, he'll be getting a warm welcome as soon as he gets off the plane," Merrin laughed.
Segeyaro told NRL.com he couldn't wait to get stuck into training with the team, adding the talent in the squad suggested there could be some future rep stars who may be playing alongside each other for some time into the future.
"I never thought this day [wearing the green and gold] would come so soon, it's just an honour for me to be in the same room as all these players that are so talented and pretty much the next Roos coming through so very excited to play alongside these blokes," Segeyaro said.
"Especially the Jack Wightons, Trent Merrins, Dane Gagai who played Origin – players that I can hopefully tap into and get a lot out of this experience."
Segeyaro added he was looking forward to getting to know his 2016 clubmate in the camp environment.
"That's when you get to know people, spending pretty much every day with them so I'm pretty stoked I get to spend a bit more time with him coming into this pre-season with the Panthers," he said.
"We obviously both play in the middle so it will be good to figure out a combination with him, how he likes to play and what service I can give him."
The PM's XIII takes on the Kumuls in Port Moresby on Saturday night.