Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is the only Vodafone Warriors player included in a 25-man squad named today for the Kiwis’ one-off Test against Mate Ma’a Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday, June 25.
It will be the Kiwis’ first international in more than two and a half years since they sealed a 2-0 series sweep with a 23-8 victory over Great Britain in Christchurch on November 9, 2019.
The 26-year-old Watene-Zelezniak hasn’t played for the Kiwis since leading them to a 34-14 win against Mate Ma’a Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium in June 2019.
He was with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs then but signed with the Vodafone Warriors midway through last season. He has scored 11 tries in 18 appearances for the club including seven in nine games this year.
While he’s the only current Vodafone Warrior, five former Vodafone Warriors NRL players have been included – back rower Isaiah Papali’i, winger Ken Maumalo, standoff Kieran Foran, centre Peta Hiku and hooker Erin Clark. Also named is Parramatta’s Vodafone Warriors-bound second rower Marata Niukore who played for the Vodafone Warriors at NYC and New South Wales Cup level before signing with the Eels.
Kiwi head coach Michael Maguire has named eight potential New Zealand Test debutants in the wider squad – Clark, Niukore, winger Ronaldo Mulitalo (Sharks), standoff Dylan Brown (Eels), front rower Griffin Neame (Cowboys), second rower Jordan Riki (Broncos), prop Moses Leota (Panthers) and back rower Scott Sorensen (Panthers).
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS
NELSON ASOFA-SOLOMONA (Melbourne Storm)
JESSE BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)
KENNY BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)
DYLAN BROWN (Parramatta Eels)
ERIN CLARK (Gold Coast Titans)
JAMES FISHER-HARRIS (Penrith Panthers)
KIERAN FORAN (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
PETA HIKU (North Queensland Cowboys)
JAHROME HUGHES (Melbourne Storm)
MOSES LEOTA (Penrith Panthers)
ISAAC LIU (Gold Coast Titans)
JOSEPH MANU (Sydney Roosters)
TE MAIRE MARTIN (Brisbane Broncos)
KEN MAUMALO (Wests Tigers)
RONALDO MULITALO (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
GRIFFIN NEAME (North Queensland Cowboys)
BRITON NIKORA (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
MARATA NIUKORE (Parramatta Eels)
ISAIAH PAPALI’I (Parramatta Eels)
JORDAN RAPANA (Canberra Raiders)
JORDAN RIKI (Brisbane Broncos)
BRANDON SMITH (Melbourne Storm)
SCOTT SORENSEN (Penrith Panthers)
JOSEPH TAPINE (Canberra Raiders)
DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK (Vodafone Warriors)