Junior Kiwis side to face Kangaroos
Seven players from the NRL Holden Cup Team of the Year have been named in the Juniors Kiwis line-up to take on Junior Kangaroos later this month.
Coach Brent Gemmell has been able to choose a strong line-up to face the Australians on October 18, including two players - Sam Lisone and Adam Tuimavave-Gerard - from the championship-winning Junior Warriors.
Lisone, five-eighth Te Maire Martin, hookers Manaia Cherrington and Danny Levi, second rowers Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Joseph Tapine, and prop Addin Fonua-Blake were members of the competition merit team named last month, and form a strong nucleus for the Junior Kiwis.
By contrast, their Australian counterparts feature just five from that all-star selection.
The NZ side sees three players - Cherrington, Tapine and Zach Docker-Clay - return from the line-up that led the Junior Kangaroos 20-10 at halftime last year, before falling 38-26.
Also in that 2013 team was wing Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who has been named in the NZ Kiwis senior squad for the upcoming Four Nations.
"The Junior Kiwis have always provided a direct pathway into the senior national side, with several more of last year's team pushing for higher honours in the near future," says NZRL high performance general manager Tony Iro.
"We expect this very talented group will be no different."
The Junior Kiwis v Junior Kangaroos showdown will form part of a blockbuster doubleheader, with the Pirtek NZRL National Premiership final scheduled as the opening fixture.
NZ Junior Kiwis: Josh Ailoai (Parramatta Eels), Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne Storm), Manaia Cherrington (Wests Tigers), Zach Docker-Clay (Parramatta Eels), Addin Fonua-Blake (St George Illawarra Dragons), Watson Heleta (Wests Tigers), Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers), Danny Levi (Newcastle Knights), Lamar Liolevave (Wests Tigers), Sam Lisone (Vodafone Warriors), Sam Manulelua (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Te Maire Martin (Wests Tigers), Taane Milne (Sydney Roosters), Kodi Nikorima (Brisbane Broncos), Chance Peni (Newcastle Knights), Joseph Tapine (Newcastle Knights), Adam Tuimavave-Gerard (Vodafone Warriors), Braden Uele (Sydney Roosters)
Coach: Brent Gemmell
Assistant coach: Kelvin Wright