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CNK sole Warrior in Kiwis' Pacific Championships squad

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is the only One New Zealand Warriors player named today in the New Zealand Kiwis’ 21-man squad for the inaugural Pacific Championships starting later this month.

He’s one of 12 players included who lined up for the Kiwis against the Kangaroos in the brutal Rugby League World Cup semifinal at Elland Road in Leeds last November.

Three other One New Zealand Warriors players were unavailable for the end of season international programme.

Following his multi award-winning 2023, halfback Shaun Johnson ruled himself out as he battled through two leg injuries in the latter stages of the NRL season, including a calf injury which kept him out of the week one play-off against Penrith.

Also unavailable were Marata Niukore and winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak. They both played on despite picking up leg injuries late in the season.

While Nicoll-Klokstad has no current clubmates in the squad he will have two former Canberra teammates around him in the shape of middle forward Joseph Tapine and centre Matthew Timoko.

The 23-year-old Timoko, an Auckland Grammar School product, is one of seven players in line to make their Kiwi debuts during the series.

Another is North Queensland prop Griffin Neame, a non-playing member of the New Zealand squad for last year’s mid-season Test against Mate Ma’a Tonga.

Also named is Christchurch-born Newcastle utility Fa’amanu Brown, who comes into the New Zealand squad for the first time after representing Toa Samoa at last year’s Rugby League World Cup.

Joining Timoko, Neame and Brown are Parramatta and Māori All Stars front rower Wiremu Greig, 19-year-old Gold Coast NRL rookie fullback Keano Kini, Newcastle and Māori All Stars prop Leo Thompson and Sydney Roosters middle forward Naufahu Whyte.

Two former Kiwis who have also played for Samoa have been recalled.

Dolphins winger Jamayne Isaako finished the 2023 NRL season as both the leading try scorer and the top points scorer. He last represented the Kiwis against Great Britain in 2019 as well as representing Samoa earlier that season.

And experienced Canberra and Māori All Stars hooker Danny Levi returns after last playing for New Zealand at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. He has represented Toa Samoa since 2019 including at the World Cup last year.

The remaining 12 players named were all in the Kiwis’ line-up for their World Cup semi-final against the Kangaroos.

Kiwis broken-hearted after loss in classic semi-final

Apart from Nicoll-Klokstad, returning from the backline that night are 2022 Golden Boot winner Joseph Manu, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Dylan Brown and Jahrome Hughes.

Penrith’s premiership-winning props James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota are back along with Isaiah Papali’i, Briton Nikora, Joseph Tapine, Kieran Foran and Nelson Asofa Solomona.

“It’s always a real thrill being able to bring new players into the Kiwi camp,” said New Zealand Kiwis head coach Michael Maguire.

“It’s a special place and these men have earned the opportunity. They’ll benefit so much from being around players who have done the jersey proud.

“This series is exciting for the game in New Zealand and also a chance for us to start our journey to the next World Cup in 2025.”

The Kiwis begin their campaign against Toa Samoa in a Labour Weekend triple header at Eden Park on Saturday, October 21 before facing the Kangaroos in Melbourne a week later.

The series final will be played in Hamilton on November 4.


DYLAN BROWN (Parramatta Eels)
FA’AMANU BROWN (Newcastle Knights)
JAMES FISHER-HARRIS (Penrith Panthers)
KIERAN FORAN (Gold Coast Titans)
WIREMU GREIG (Parramatta Eels)
JAHROME HUGHES (Melbourne Storm)
KEANO KINI (Gold Coast Titans)
MOSES LEOTA (Penrith Panthers)
DANNY LEVI (Canberra Raiders)
JOSEPH MANU (Sydney Roosters)
RONALDO MULITALO (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
GRIFFIN NEAME (North Queensland Cowboys)
CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD (One New Zealand Warriors)
BRITON NIKORA (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
ISAIAH PAPALI'I (Wests Tigers)
JOSEPH TAPINE (Canberra Raiders)
LEO THOMPSON (Newcastle Knights)
MATTHEW TIMOKO (Canberra Raiders)
NAUFAHU WHYTE (Sydney Roosters)
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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