Cook Islands new coach Karmichael Hunt names squad for Pacific Championships, including Tetevano, Marsters, Takairangi

Drew Darbyshire
Zane Tetevano, Esan Marsters, Brad Takairangi Cook Islands Alamy

Zane Tetevano, Esan Marsters and Brad Takairangi have been named in the Cook Islands squad for the upcoming Pacific Championships

Former NRL star Karmichael Hunt has taken over the head coaching reins at the Cook Islands from Tony Iro ahead of the Pacific Championships.

The 36-year-old was born in New Zealand to a Samoan father and Cook Islander mother, moving to Australia as an 11-year-old.

Hunt enjoyed a distinguished career in rugby league and rugby union, representing Australia in both codes.

The Cook Islands will take part in the inaugural World Series in 2025, which is a qualifying process for the next World Cup in 2026.

Hunt has picked a young squad with several veteran players, including former Hull KR utility Brad Takairangi and ex-Leeds Rhinos prop Zane Tetevano.

Huddersfield Giants centre Esan Marsters has been called up again following an impressive World Cup with the Kukis last year, alongside his cousin Steven.

Former Featherstone Rovers prop Makahesi Makatoa, who has made seven appearances in the NRL for Parramatta Eels this season, has been selected.

Cronulla Sharks winger Kayal Iro, who was linked with a move to Super League earlier this year, has been named in Hunt’s side after being a standout player at last year’s World Cup in England.

And promising prop Davvy Moaele, who has already made more than 30 NRL appearances for South Sydney Rabbitohs, is likely to lead the Kukis pack alongside Tetevano.

The Kukis face Papua New Guinea at the Santos National Football Stadium in Port Moresby on October 15 before facing Fiji the following week at the same ground.

Cook Islands squad for Pacific Championships

Tevin Arona

Rhys Dakin

Esom Ioka

Kadiyae Ioka

Kayal Iro

Makahesi Makatoa

Justin Estall-Makirere

Steven Marsters

Esan Marsters

Alvin Maungaati

Davvy Moale

Takai Mokohar

Malachi Morgan

Rua Ngatikaura

Pride Pettersen-Robati

Lucky Pokipoki

Reuben Porter

Brad Takairangi

Zane Tetevano

Isaiah Cooper-Tetevano

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