Just-named Vodafone Warriors NRL rookie of the year Isaiah Papali’i is one of nine of the club’s players included in the Kiwis’ wider squad to prepare for the end-of-season one-off Test against the Kangaroos in Auckland and the three internationals to follow against England when they travel to the United Kingdom.
Papali’i is also among nine Vodafone Warriors in the Junior Kiwis’ wider squad.
The Kiwis, Junior Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns all take on Australia in Trans-Tasman Showdown at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday, October 13.
As well as Papali’i, the other Vodafone Warriors named in the Kiwi squad are Gerard Beale, Adam Blair, Tohu Harris, Peta Hiku, Shaun Johnson, Issac Luke, Ken Maumalo and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Papali’i and Joseph Vuna, who made his NRL debut for the Vodafone Warriors this year, head the list of players in the Junior Kiwis’ wider squad. Also included are Intrust Super Premiership regulars Chanel Harris-Tavita and Hayze Perham along with Tom Ale, Preston Riki, Tyler Slade, Lewis Soosemea and Paul Turner.
Kiwi head coach Michael Maguire and Junior Kiwis head coach Ezra Howe collaborated with national selectors Mark Horo, Hugh McGahan and Tawera Nikau to select the squads.
The triple header marks the first time since 2014 that players from all three representative teams will get the opportunity to run out in front of a home crowd filled with family, friends and fans. For players such as Adam Blair, pulling on the black and white jumper compares to nothing else.
“I’d represent my country any day of the week. We love playing games here at home in front of our family and friends. To see the fans turn out and sing the national anthem alongside us is something special,” he said.
Ahead of Maguire’s second outing at the helm of the Kiwis, his first in New Zealand, he looks forward to working with the players. The Test earlier in the year against England provided him with insights into many of the players in the wider squad and he says he’s “looking forward to the re-introduction of senior players such as Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Tohu Harris who will inject years of experience and leadership back into the squad.”
Tickets are on sale now from www.ticketek.co.nz for the Trans-Tasman Showdown (adult ticket prices from $35 and children from $15).
NZ KIWIS | WIDER SQUAD
Brisbane Broncos | Jamayne Isaako, Jordan Kahu, Kodi Nikorima
Canberra Raiders | Jordan Rapana, Joseph Tapine
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs | Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Reimis Smith
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks | Sosaia Feki
Gold Coast Titans | Kevin Proctor
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles | Martin Taupau
Melbourne Storm | Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Jesse Bromwich, Kenneath Bromwich, Jahrome Hughes, Brandon Smith
Newcastle Knights | Herman Ese’ese, Danny Levi
North Queensland Cowboys | Te Maire Martin
Penrith Panthers | James Fisher-Harris, Corey Harawira-Naera, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare
St George Illawarra Dragons | Leeson Ah Mau
Sydney Roosters | Isaac Liu, Joseph Manu, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Vodafone Warriors | Gerard Beale, Adam Blair, Tohu Harris, Peta Hiku, Shaun Johnson, Issac Luke, Ken Maumalo, Isaiah Papali’i, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Wests Tigers | Esan Marsters
JUNIOR KIWIS | WIDER SQUAD
Brisbane Broncos | Rory Ferguson, Jordan Riki
Canberra Raiders | Paul Roache
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs | Morgan Harper
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks | Jackson Ferris, Cruz Topaz-Aveai
Gold Coast Titans | Darius Farmer, Moeaki Fotuaika, Jaxson Paulo, Kea Pere
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles | Manase Fainu, Tevita Funa, Moses Suli
Melbourne Storm | Kayleb Milne, Junior Rutava, Kelma Tuilagi
Newcastle Knights | Pasame Saulo
North Queensland Cowboys | Peter Hola, Sean Mullany, Emry Pere, Murray Taulagi
Parramatta Eels | Tui Afualo, Dylan Brown, Haze Dunstar, Oregon Kaufusi
Penrith Panthers | Dean Blore
St George Illawarra Dragons | Steven Marsters
Sydney Roosters | Bailey Bentley-Harper
South Sydney Rabbitohs | Jesse Arthars, Mawene Hiroti, Lucky Ta’avale
Vodafone Warriors | Tom Ale, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Isaiah Papali’i, Hayze Perham, Preston Riki, Tyler Slade, Lewis Soosemea, Paul Turner, Joseph Vuna