Tinirau Arona and Anthony Gelling in Cook Islands squad to face Samoa

Tinirau Arona and Anthony Gelling Cook Islands
Tinirau Arona (left) and Anthony Gelling (right) have been named in the Cook Islands squad

Wakefield prop Tinirau Arona and ex-Wigan centre Anthony Gelling have been included in the Cook Islands squad to take on Samoa next weekend.

Arona, 33, has been in Super League with Wakefield since 2016. He is one of only seven members of the Cook Islands team which earned the Kukis a place in the World Cup at the end of the year.

Gelling, 31, spent nine seasons in the UK with Wigan, Widnes, Warrington and Leigh before returning home to New Zealand last year.

The Cook Islands take on Pacific neighbours Samoa in a mid-season test at Campbelltown Sports Ground on June 25. It will be part of a Pacific double-header which will also see Papua New Guinea face Fiji.

Kukis coach Tony Iro has named three sets of brothers in his squad – Esan and Steven Marsters, Reuben and Vincent Rennie and Kayal and Andre Iro.

Former Featherstone prop Makahesi Makatoa will look to add to his three Cook Islands caps.

 

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Iro said: “Of the seventeen men who last took the field for the Cook Islands against the USA, only seven are back for this match.

“We have a promising young squad who will relish the opportunity at this level and to have Tinirau’s experience will definitely help. He’s been playing well at Wakefield and hasn’t been home in four years so I’m sure he’ll have a great week.

“It’s been a long two-and-a-half years since we last played and I know everyone in rugby league is looking forward to representative football again.

“The key focus is to firstly get the boys to enjoy and embrace the opportunity to play for the Cook Islands.

“Every nation has its own unique identity, and we are no different. Preparation for these games is way different to club land and I know the players will enjoy the week.”

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Cook Islands squad to face Samoa:

  • Tinirau Arona (Wakefield)
  • Geoff Daniela (St Marys)
  • Anthony Gelling (NZ)
  • Kayal Iro (Newtown Jets)
  • Andre Iro (Southport Tigers)
  • Reece Joyce (NZ)
  • Makahesi Makatoa (Eels)
  • Steven Marsters (Thirroul Butchers)
  • Esan Marsters (Titans)
  • Davvy Moale (Rabbitohs)
  • Malachi Morgan (Southport Tigers)
  • Moses Noovao-McGreal (Norths Devils)
  • Pride Pettersen-Robati (Warriors)
  • Brendan Piakura (Broncos)
  • Reuben Porter (Tweed Heads)
  • Reuben Rennie (Newtown Jets)
  • Vincent Rennie (Newtown Jets)
  • Brodie Tamarua (NZ)
  • Aaron Teroi (Central Queensland Capras)
  • Xavier Willison (Broncos)

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About Drew Darbyshire 8031 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

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