Thursday, September 21, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Mackay Cutters rugby league trump cards Emma Manzelmann and China Polata have gained selection in the Women’s Australian Prime Minister’s XIII to play Papua New Guinea this Saturday at Santos National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.
The exciting duo were recognised for their strong performances for the Cutters in this year’s BMD Women’s premiership and the North Queensland Cowboys in the NRLW competition.
Emerging hooker Manzelmann and classy utility back Polata helped the Cutters reach the BMD Premiership semi-finals this season before making their debuts with the new Cowboys franchise.
The Women’s Prime Minister’s XIII was selected with a view to giving some of the best up and coming players in the NRLW an opportunity alongside a number of established representative players.
Cowboys’ playmaker Tallisha Harden will captain the Australian team.
Harden is one of four North Queensland players named in the Prime Minister’s squad along with Manzelmann, Polata and forward Tiana Raftstrand-Smith.
All four were rewarded with Australian jumpers after skilful displays on the women’s rugby league scene.
Australia’s World Cup-winning Kangaroos and Jillaroos coaches Mal Meninga and Brad Donald believe the men’s and women’s Prime Minister XIII squads would provide opportunities for the players to both further their representative aspirations as well as experience something quite unique.
Meninga said the match would provide a selection guide ahead of the first ever Pacific Championships, across October and November.
This year’s event will also see the introduction of the Australian Schoolboys and Schoolgirls taking on the Junior Kumuls and Orchids respectively with support from the Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the NRL.