Kiwi Train-on squad Named

A total of 11 New Zealand Warriors have today been named in a 43-man Kiwi train-on squad ahead of the 2010 Four Nations and a one-off Test against Samoa in October-November. <br><br> In all 31 of the players chosen are from top eight clubs involved in the NRL finals starting this weekend. <br><br> Of the 11 Vodafone Warriors, five are experienced internationals Lance Hohaia, Manu Vatuvei, Jerome Ropati, Simon Mannering and Sam Rapira, who were all in the Kiwis' World Cup-winning side in 2008. <br><br> Of the other six hooker Aaron Heremaia made his debut in this year's Anzac Test in Melbourne and prop-second rower Ben Matulino has played in each of the Kiwis' last three Tests since his first appearance against France in last year's Four Nations. The other four Russell Packer, Lewis Brown. Ukuma Ta'ai and Kevin Locke are yet to play for the Kiwis although Locke toured last year. <br><br> All 17 players used in this year’s Anzac Test against Australia along with 18th man Alex Glenn have been named along with 2008 World Cup-winning Kiwis Thomas Leuluai (Wigan) and Greg Eastwood (Leeds), the only players included from English Super League sides. <br><br> Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney said he and fellow selectors Howie Tamati, Tony Iro and Tawera Nikau were excited so many contenders were in good form at the business end of the NRL season. <br><br> “The fact we have so many of the train-on squad involved in finals football starting this weekend is a major boost for us,” he said. <br><br> “It has to be beneficial having such a significant number with the chance of going well into the finals, perhaps all the way to the grand final. <br><br> “Again some exciting new faces have come through this season while players we are familiar with have also continued to push their claims. <br><br> “As selectors we’re encouraged by the spread and depth we have in all positions and believe we are in a good position to select a strong squad for the Four Nations in October.” <br><br> Of the 43 players named, 12 are yet to make their New Zealand debuts. <br><br> Warriors winger Kevin Locke and South Sydney back rower Eddy Pettybourne were both in the Kiwis’ official touring party for last year’s Four Nations in England and France but didn’t make it onto the field while Warriors second rower Ukuma Ta’ai and Manly winger Tony Williams have both previously represented Tonga. Their eligibility is to be confirmed with the Rugby League International Federation. <br><br> The other eight players yet to make their Kiwi debuts are the Brisbane duo Alex Glenn and Antonio Winterstein, Penrith prop Sam McKendry, South Sydney winger Fetuli Talanoa, the young Sydney Roosters pair Joseph Leilua and Mose Masoe and Warriors forwards Lewis Brown and Russell Packer. Thirteen of the 16 NRL clubs have players included in the squad. The only clubs without a representative are North Queensland, Gold Coast and Cronulla. <br><br> The Kiwis begin their end-of-season international programme with their historic first-ever Test against Samoa at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on October 16, the second leg of a doubleheader preceded by England taking on the New Zealand Maori. <br><br> The Kiwis’ Four Nations encounters are against England at Westpac Stadium in Wellington (October 23), Papua New Guinea at the International Stadium in Rotorua (October 30) and Australia at Eden Park in Auckland (November 6). <br><br> The match against the Kangaroos is the second half of a doubleheader kicking off with England facing Papua New Guinea. The Four Nations final is scheduled for Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on November 13. The final Kiwi squad for the Four Nations and the Test against Samoa is due to be named a few days after the NRL grand final on October 3. <br><br> Meanwhile, Laurie Hale, gear manager for the Warriors, is to join the Kiwis as logistics manager for the 2010 Four Nations. <br><br> After playing, selecting and coaching touch football for North Harbour, Hale became an NRL talent scout and gear steward in 1993. In 2002 he took up coaching with East Coast Bays on Auckland’s North Shore and has since had a number of coaching successes. <br><br> With more than 40 years in rugby league experience, he’s not only a very highly respected member of the Warriors’ NRL football staff but he also exemplifies many, if not all, of the qualities required for the logistics manager’s role with the Kiwis. <br><br> “Laurie is one of the most reliable, diligent and hard-working men in league and the Kiwis are exceptionally fortunate to have someone of his calibre and experience joining us,” said NZRL football manager Tony Kemp. <br><br>“I know he’ll play a pivotal part in all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.” Hale takes up his post next month. <br><br> 2010 KIWIS – TRAIN-ON SQUAD <br><br> Brisbane Broncos: Alex Glenn, Antonio Winterstein <br><br> Bankstown: Bryson Goodwin, Ben Roberts <br><br> Canberra Raiders: Bronson Harrison <br><br> Leeds Rhinos: Greg Eastwood <br><br> Manly Sea Eagles: Kieran Foran, Steve Matai, Tony Williams <br><br> Melbourne Storm: Adam Blair, Sika Manu <br><br> Newcastle Knights: Junior Sa’u, Zeb Taia <br><br> Parramatta Eels: Krisnan Inu, Fuifui Moimoi <br><br> Penrith Panthers: Sam McKendry, Frank Pritchard <br><br> St George Illawarra Dragons: Nathan Fien, Jason Nightingale, Jeremy Smith <br><br> South Sydney Rabbitohs: Roy Asotasi, Issac Luke, Eddy Pettybourne, Fetuli Talanoa <br><br> Sydney Roosters: Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Joseph Leilua, Mose Masoe, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sam Perrett, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves Warriors: Lewis Brown, Aaron Heremaia, Lance Hohaia, Kevin Locke, Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino, Russell Packer, Sam Rapira, Jerome Ropati, Ukuma Ta’ai, Manu Vatuvei <br><br> Wests Tigers: Benji Marshall <br><br> Wigan Warriors: Thomas Leuluai