On a day when New Zealanders and Australians have bonded to remember those who went before them, the Vodafone Warriors and Melbourne Storm reflect the Anzac Day flavour with the make-up of their squads for tonight’s traditional encounter.
When both clubs named their initial 24-man squads on Tuesday, they combined to provide an even representation of players with links to each the Anzac partners.
Indeed, the Vodafone Warriors named a starting line-up which neatly reflected the partnership the two nations forged more than 100 years.
Their forward pack comprised six players born in Australia albeit one of them – Addin Fonua-Blake – who has represented both New Zealand and Tonga.
In the backline they counted six New Zealand-born players while fullback Reece Walsh, although Australian-born, has New Zealand links through his Māori heritage
Melbourne included six New Zealand-born or New Zealand-eligible players in their expanded squad while another two – Felise Kaufusi and Alec MacDonald – were born in Auckland.
Melbourne: Ryan Papenhuyzen, Nick Meaney, Xavier Coates, Cameron Munster, Harry Grant, Felise Kaufusi (Auckland-born), Josh King, Tyran Wishart, Trent Loiero, Chris Lewis, Jordan Grant, Jack Howarth, Bronson Garlick, Cooper Johns, Alec MacDonald (Auckland-born).
Vodafone Warriors: Reece Walsh (Māori heritage), Wayde Egan, Matt Lodge, Euan Aitken, Bayley Sironen, Josh Curran, Aaron Pene, Garrett Smith.
Melbourne: Reimis Smith (Sydney-born), Jahrome Hughes, Jesse Bromwich, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Kenny Bromwich, Brandon Smith.
New Zealand: Dallin Watene Zelezniak, Jesse Arthars, Adam Pompey, Edward Kosi, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Shaun Johnson, Bunty Afoa, Kodi Nikorima, Jazz Tevaga, Rocco Berry, Valingi Kepu.
Tonga: Addin Fonua-Blake (Sydney-born, also played for New Zealand), Eliesa Katoa, Taniela Otukolo, Viliami Valiela.
Papua New Guinea: Justin Olam.
Cook Islands: Tepai Moeroa.
Samoa: Marion Seve (Australian-born).
Fiji: Junior Ratuva.