Parramatta Eels five-eighth Corey Norman has been named in the PM's XIII for the game against PNG.
Parramatta Eels five-eighth Corey Norman has been named in the PM's XIII for the game against PNG. DEAN LEWINS

Norman eager to make most of half chance

RUGBY LEAGUE: The Parramatta premiership drought continues - but the 20-year wait for an Eel to finally feature in the halves for Australia is about to end.

Corey Norman plans to make the most of his late call-up to the Prime Minister's XIII to play Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby on Saturday.

Jack Bird and James Maloney will start in the halves against the Kumuls but Norman will expected to enjoy plenty of time in the middle in what Australia coach Mal Meninga is labelling a World Cup audition.

Michael Morgan, Maloney and Cameron Munster all sit ahead of Norman in Meninga's World Cup five-eighth pecking order but the Eels knockabout will come right into contention in the event of an injury.

While still disappointed about Parra's NRL finals exit against the Cowboys last Saturday - continuing the club's agonising 31-year title wait - Norman is excited to get his first representative jersey.

John Simon was the last Eels playmaker to feature in the halves for Australia when he came off the bench against a Rest Of The World in 1997.

Jason Smith was an Eels half but used as a forward at the 2000 World Cup, while Peter Sterling was the last starting halfback for Australia in 1988.

"Putting on the green and gold jersey will be an honour, and I'm just excited I get to have a crack,” Norman said.

"You always try to make these rep sides, and hopefully I can put my best foot forward.”

Norman was right in the mix for a Queensland Origin debut this year before he broke down with a knee injury.



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