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Both sides capturing essence of Anzac Day

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.

ANZAC BREAKDOWN

Australia:

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.

New Zealand:

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.  

Others:

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.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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