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Horne steps up to fullback role for PM's XIII

Dragons winger Rikeya Horne has been named fullback for the Jillaroos PM's XIII side to play the Papua New Guinea Orchids next month.

With Chelsea Baker (Broncos) and Karina Brown (Roosters) involved in Sunday's inaugural NRLW grand final, plus St George Illawarra No.1 Sam Bremner (toe) still on the casualty list, Jillaroos coach Brad Donald has turned to Horne.

Roosters' Test fullback Nakia Davis-Welsh is still recovering from a syndesmosis ankle strain.

"Rikeya played fullback in the Australian side at the Commonwealth championships earlier in the year," Donald said.

"Sam is racing the clock to get back in time for the [October 13 Kiwis Ferns] Test match. Hopefully she comes through so she stakes her claims for that side."

Donald has only selected two Jillaroos in his PM's squad of 19 players – forwards Talesha Quinn and Rebecca Young.

Young, a World Cup-winning Jillaroo and Indigenous All Stars skipper, will captain the side.

"Rebecca unfortunately missed out on a spot in one of the four premiership teams this year and she's given an awful lot to the game over a very long time," Donald said.

"She got a competition up and running in Newcastle and their team plays in the NSW Cup here in Sydney. She also played for the NSW Origin side earlier in the year."

That makes Young the type of player Donald wants on this trip to PNG for the October 6 curtain-raiser to Mal Meninga's PM"s XIII taking on the Kumuls.

"It's a really good opportunity for her to lead a young team," Donald said.

"It's about bringing players in and indoctrinating them to the Jillaroos culture.

"And 50 per cent of that is what we expect off the field. It's really important for them to understand that off-field behaviours, their values, are really important to this team.

"There's 17 women there that haven't played for us before so it's a good chance for us to get a closer look at them too and inspire them to get a Test match jumper."

The Jillaroos also played the Orchids in last year's double-header in Port Moresby, but this year the women's team also carries the Prime Minister's XIII tag.

Both the Kangaroos and Jillaroos jersey will display the words "Strong Men Respect Women" on the front as the Australian and PNG governments use the powerful vehicle of rugby league to help cut rates of domestic violence.

"This is the second time I've taken a team north," Donald said. "The attitudes are changing.

"A lot of the males in powerful positions in the PNGRL were saying how wonderful it was to have an Orchids team playing.

"To see two good women's rugby league teams proudly on show sends a powerful message."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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