Three players from the victorious 2008 squad have been named in the New Zealand squad for the upcoming World Cup.
Wigan’s Thomas Leuluai, captain Adam Blair and veteran Simon Mannering are all in David Kidwell’s squad, some nine years after they stunned Australia with a win in the final Down Under.
The only other Super League interest in the Kiwis squad is departing Warrington centre Peta Hiku, who enjoyed a successful short-term spell with the Wolves before opting to return Down Under at the end of the season.
Five debutants – Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Addin Fonua-Blake, Danny Levi, Isaac Liu and Brad Takairangi – are all included but Tohu Harris, Jordan Kahu, Kieran Foran and Ben Matulino were all not considered due to injury.
Kidwell said: “This is a unique opportunity, a World Cup in our country is a great honour and I can’t wait to get into camp and work this this group of men and women who are all committed to the Kiwis.”
“There’s a great mix of enthusiasm and experience in this side and a real desire to win this World Cup, I can’t wait to show the people around New Zealand all the work we have been doing and how committed we are to this campaign.”
New Zealand 24-man squad: Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne Storm), Gerard Beale (Cronulla Sharks), Adam Blair (Brisbane Broncos), Kenneath Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Addin Fonua-Blake (Manly Sea Eagles), Peta Hiku (Warrington Wolves), Shaun Johnson (New Zealand Warriors), Thomas Leuluai (Wigan Warriors), Danny Levi (Newcastle Knights), Isaac Liu (Sydney Roosters), Simon Mannering (New Zealand Warriors), Te Maire Martin (North Queensland Cowboys), Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra Dragons), Kodi Nikorima (Brisbane Broncos), Russell Packer (St George Illawarra Dragons), Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders), Brad Takairangi (Parramatta Eels), Joseph Tapine (Canberra Raiders), Martin Taupau (Manly Sea Eagles), Elijah Taylor (Wests Tigers), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (New Zealand Warriors), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers), Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers)