Samoa and the Cook Islands have today announced their squads to play a SP Brewery Pacific Cup qualifying match in Cairns next Saturday, October 17.
A crowd up to 7,000 is expected to bring Barlow Park alive as the two Pacific nations face off for a spot in the RLIF’s newest international tournament alongside Fiji, Tonga and host nation Papua New Guinea.
Samoa coach Willie Poching has named a powerful squad featuring UK stars Kylie Leuluai, Francis Meli and Tony Puletua as well as youthful NRL talent in Masada Iosefa, Misi Taulapapa and Joseph Paulo.
Cook Islands coach David Fairleigh has called on young Broncos utility Alex Glenn to lead his new-look squad.
The SP Brewery Pacific Cup kicks off at Lloyd Robson Oval on the weekend of October 24, with teams set to arrive in Port Moresby from October 19.
But all the action next week will be in Cairns, with both Samoa and Cook Islands set to take part in a week of festivities starting with an intercultural social evening on Tuesday, October 13.
A Mayoral Reception will take place on Thursday, October 15 at the city’s Council Chambers, while on game day the Cairns District Junior Rugby League will be conducting fundraisers to aid the crisis response in Samoa.
Cairns will be alive with international Rugby League throughout the week thanks to concurrent carnivals - Far North Queensland Sporting and Cultural Carnival and the "Jack Albert Shield" featuring 25-30 senior men’s, women’s and under-18 teams – involving an array of countries and cultures.
Both teams arrive in Cairns on Monday, October 12, and will train at Northern Pride Oval (Samoa) and Barlow Park (Cook Islands).
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea continue their preparations for the inaugural SP Brewery Pacific Cup with their annual Origin fixture taking place this Saturday, October 10 in Mount Hagen.
Fiji has completed their internal trial and are set to name their tournament squad in the coming days while Tonga are busy preparing for a warm-up match against New Zealand in Rotorua on October 14 and are set to name a powerful line up prior to departing Australia on October 12.
Cook Islands Squad:
Tinirau Arona, Sam Brunton, Geoff Daniela, Daniel Fepuleai, John Ford, Anthony Celling, Terry Glassie, Alex Glenn, Keith Lulia, Fred Makimare, Joseph Matapuku, Vinnie Ngaro, Leon Panapa, Dominique Peroux, Brad Takirangi, Zane Tetevano, Manikura Tikinau, Ben Vaeau, John Viiga
Toa Samoa Squad:
Patrick Ah Van, Jack Afamasaga, Paul Chan-Tung, Harrison Hansen, Masada Iosefa, Kylie Leuluai, Phillip Leuluai, Peter Matautia, Francis Meli, Tanielu Pasene, Tony Puletua, Joseph Paulo, Tangi Ropati, Terence Seuseu, Kyle Stanley, Albert Talapeau, Sam Tagatese, Lepupa Taualagi, Mark Taufua , Misi Taulapapa