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Vodafone Warriors flavour in Kiwis' wider RLWC squad

Two current Vodafone Warriors players and three new signings have been included in the New Zealand Kiwis’ 34-man wider squad to prepare for Rugby League World Cup in the United Kingdom starting next month.

Veteran international Shaun Johnson comes into the squad along with winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, the sole Vodafone Warrior included in the Kiwis’ camp for their one-off Test against Mate Ma’a Tonga in June.

Also named today are three of the club’s new 2023 signings Te Maire Martin, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Marata Niukore.

The wider squad includes 24 of the 25 players involved in the Kiwis’ mid-year campaign against Tonga.

Apart from Johnson and Nicoll-Klolstad, other additions are experienced Kiwis Kodi Nikorima and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves along with Corey Harawira-Naera and Braden Hamlin-Uele, who made their New Zealand Test debuts in 2019.

Also included are Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs hooker Jeremy Marshall-King and Parramatta Eels winger Bailey Simonsson, both selected in the Kiwis’ squad for the 2019 World Nines in Sydney.

The only two new faces are in-form Canberra centres Sebastian Kris (23) and Matthew Timoko (22) who have been instrumental in the Raiders’ surge into week two of the NRL finals after eliminating Melbourne Storm 28-20 on Saturday night.

Of the players named in the extended squad for the 26-6 win over Mate Ma’a Tonga in June only Gold Coast hooker Erin Clark isn’t included after being ruled out following knee surgery.

Seven of the players are yet to make their Test debuts for the Kiwis – Kris, Timoko, Marshall-King, Simonsson, Griffin Neame, Jordan Riki and Scott Sorensen – but Neame, Riki and Sorensen were in camp for the Tonga Test. 

“We wanted to name a wider squad so we have all options covered while the NRL finals are playing out,” said Kiwis head coach Michael Maguire.

“We’re excited about the depth of players available and the form they’re in. The vast majority of them are in sides that made it into the finals which is a real positive as we look ahead to the tournament.”

A total of 10 past, present or soon-to-be Vodafone Warriors are included in the squad – Johnson, Watene-Zelezniak, Martin, Nicoll-Klokstad, Niukore, Kieran Foran, Peta Hiku, Ken Maumalo, Isaiah Papali’i and Nikorima.

The Kiwis are due to assemble in Sydney on September 27 where they’ll train for two days before flying to England on September 30. The squad will be reduced to 24 for the tournament with players selected from the two teams in the grand final travelling separately the following week.

The New Zealanders will warm up for their World Cup campaign with a match against the Leeds Rhinos at Headingley on October 8 when 2008 World Cup winner Thomas Leuluai will be guest captain in the final match of his decorated career before retiring.

The Kiwis will then move to their RLWC base in York. Their opening Pool C match is against Lebanon in Warrington on October 16 followed by Jamaica in Hull on October 22 and Ireland in Leeds on October 28.

The quarter-finals are scheduled for November 4,5 and 6, the semifinals on November 11 and 12 and the final at Old Trafford in Manchester on November 19.


JESSE BROMWICH | Melbourne Storm
DYLAN BROWN | Parramatta Eels
JAMES FISHER-HARRIS | Penrith Panthers
KIERAN FORAN | Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
BRADEN HAMLIN-UELE | Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
PETA HIKU | North Queensland Cowboys
JAHROME HUGHES | Melbourne Storm
SHAUN JOHNSON | Vodafone Warriors
SEBASTIAN KRIS* | Canberra Raiders
MOSES LEOTA | Penrith Panthers
ISAAC LIU | Gold Coast Titans
JOSEPH MANU | Sydney Roosters
JEREMY MARSHALL-KING* | Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs
TE MAIRE MARTIN | Brisbane Broncos
KEN MAUMALO | Wests Tigers
RONALDO MULITALO | Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
GRIFFIN NEAME* | North Queensland Cowboys
BRITON NIKORA | Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
KODI NIKORIMA | South Sydney Rabbitohs
MARATA NIUKORE | Parramatta Eels
ISAIAH PAPALI’I | Parramatta Eels
JORDAN RAPANA | Canberra Raiders
JORDAN RIKI* | Brisbane Broncos
BAILEY SIMONSSON* | Parramatta Eels
BRANDON SMITH | Melbourne Storm
SCOTT SORENSEN* | Penrith Panthers
JOSEPH TAPINE | Canberra Raiders
MATTHEW TIMOKO* | Canberra Raiders

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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