PM'S XIII, Jillaroos arrival in Papua New Guinea
The Australian Prime Minister's XIII and Harvey Norman Jillaroos created history on Thursday when they touched down together in Papua New Guinea for the very first time.
The representative sides were greeted by thousands of passionate Rugby League supporters at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby, cheering and chasing the buses down the street.
Once at the team hotel, all four Captains and Coaches for the respective nations gathered for a press conference to mark the historic occasion.
On his fourth tour to Papua New Guinea, Australian PM's XIII Captain Aaron Woods was amazed by the welcome from the Port Moresby locals.
"Once we got past all the Police escorts all the kids and families started coming out of anywhere. They were slapping the bus and the boys were getting that excited that they all started getting their cameras out and started filming it," Woods said.
"It's unreal to see how much they love rugby league up here. It's an honour for us to wear the green and gold and play in PNG."
Harvey Norman Jillaroos Co-Captain Stephanie Hancock was just as taken aback by the mass greeting.
"We were following the boy's bus and just in awe of what was going on, especially with the Police and all the kids running on to the road," Hancock said.
"I think there were twenty phones out on the girl's bus, so if the boys missed something then I don't doubt it will be one of ours for sure!"
On the team's front, Parramatta Eels Corey Norman joined the squad in place of Josh Papalii, who was a late withdrawal for family reasons.
While Jillaroos Captain Ruan Sims failed to recover from illness in time to make the trip and has been replaced by Queensland's Chelsea Lenarduzzi, with stalwarts Stephanie Hancock and Renae Kunst will share the captaincy.
The Prime Minister's XIII and Harvey Norman Jillaroos squads will engage in a series of events, community visits and coaching clinics on Friday in Port Moresby and are supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).