Caption: Newcastle's Dane Gagai and Tom Symonds (right) arrive at Port Moresby Airport to a warm welcome. Photo: Daniel Potuku (NRL).
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles players Tom Symonds and Jake Trbojevic are set to face a different kind of atmosphere in Port Moresby on Saturday night.
Symonds and Trbojevic will represent the Australian PM’s XIII against the PNG PM’s XIII in the annual representative fixture. Penrith Coach Ivan Cleary is in charge of the team with Trent Merrin the captain.
It is the first time Symonds and Trbojevic have represented the Australian PM's XIII side.
The team flew into Cairns on Wednesday and trained at the Cairns local junior footy club, before attending a local ‘Men of League’ north Queensland dinner.
Thursday saw the team arrive in Port Moresby to a huge reception at the airport, before being whisked away to their hotel.
The Aussies completed a final captain’s run this morning at the Sir John Guise Stadium, where they will play the match tomorrow night at 7pm (same time as Australia).
As part of the captain’s run this morning, the team completed an opposed session against the NSW under 16s young achievers side, who had just completed the Kokoda track and will play a curtain raiser match against the PNG under 16s.
The Australian PM’s XIII presented playing jerseys to the NSW under 16s young achievers side – a huge moment for the young side.
The team then joined a ‘League Bilong Life’ (League For Life) acitivity with school children from Port Moresby. The message throughout the tour from the team is ‘strong men respect women’ and all players have been helping to spread this message.
There is no TV coverage of the match in Australia.