Their NRL seasons may be over, but Illawarra juniors Beau Ryan and Dan Hunt will be making an impact on and off the field in Papua New Guinea next week.
Though they play for rival clubs – Ryan has just signed with Cronulla after six seasons at Wests Tigers and Hunt has played 125 games for St George Illawarra – they are close mates off the field.
After being selected for the Prime Minister’s XIII to play against PNG on Sunday, the pair will stay on to work with children and community leaders to promote career and health programs.
“It will be a proud moment to pull on the green and gold for the first time, but it’s humbling to know just how much our visit means to the people in PNG,’’ Ryan said.
‘‘The difference we can make in helping end violence against women and helping others try and make a positive difference to their lives.’’ Hunt and Ryan joined the rest of the PM’s squad in Cairns yesterday before flying to Port Moresby.
“It’s every player’s dream to represent their country and I am very close to fulfilling that,” Hunt said.
“It’s a very exciting moment, but I know there is a long way to go between now and game time.
“We’ll be heading into camp, which will be good as I will be meeting my teammates and we’ll then hit the field over the next few days to start working on our conditioning and some set-plays.
“I’ve been told about our record in Papua New Guinea so hopefully we can keep that tradition going, but they are getting stronger themselves every year so we can’t take them lightly.”
Dragons teammates Ben Creagh, Trent Merrin, Brett Morris and Beau Scott were in the initial squad, but withdrew to undergo surgery.