20 of the squad that won the World Cup have been named in a 45-man Kiwi rugby league train-on squad for the Four Nations tournament in England and France in October-November.
The only players not selected are World Cup captain Nathan Cayless, now retired from international football, Sika Manu, Evarn Tuimavave and David Kidwell. Manu is sidelined with a broken leg, Tuimavave has only just returned from a long injury lay-off and Kidwell has been playing the New South Wales Cup recently.
Also selected are five players who were ruled out of the World Cup with injury - Roy Asotasi (South Sydney), Jeff Lima (Melbourne), Frank Pritchard (Penrith), Iosia Soliola (Sydney Roosters) and Brent Webb (Leeds).
While 32 of the squad have test experience, the other 13 include some of the most promising New Zealand-eligible players in the NRL as well as more established first graders who have won recognition.
Coach Stephen Kearney says the squad they've named reinforces the quality and depth of players they have to choose from when looking to select New Zealand teams these days... it's getting better all the time.
Kearney confirmed the Kiwis will prepare for their Four Nations campaign by assembling in Auckland in early October before spending six days in camp in Rotorua for a one-off Test against Tonga on Wednesday, October 14th.
The squad is....
Louis Anderson (Warrington), Roy Asotasi (South Sydney), Adam Blair (Melbourne), Luke Covell (Cronulla), Greg Eastwood (Bulldogs), David Fa'alogo (South Sydney), Nathan Fien (St George Illawarra), Kieran Foran (Manly), Alex Glenn (Brisbane), Bryson Goodwin (Bulldogs), Dene Halatau (Wests Tigers), Bronson Harrison (Canberra), Lance Hohaia (Warriors), Krisnan Inu (Parramatta), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), Thomas Leuluai (Wigan), Jeff Lima (Melbourne), Kevin Locke (Warriors), Issac Luke (South Sydney), Simon Mannering (Warriors), Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers), Steve Matai (Manly), Ben Matulino (Warriors), Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta), Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra), Frank-Paul Nuuausala (Sydney Roosters), Russell Packer (Warriors), Sam Perrett (Sydney Roosters), Eddy Pettybourne (South Sydney), Frank Pritchard (Penrith), Sam Rapira (Warriors), Ben Roberts (Bulldogs), Jerome Ropati (Warriors), Setaimata Sa (Sydney Roosters), Junior Sau (Newcastle), Jeremy Smith (St George Illawarra), Iosia Soliola (Sydney Roosters), Chase Stanley (St George Illawarra), Zeb Taia (Newcastle), Fetuli Talanoa (South Sydney), Taniela Tuiaki (Wests Tigers), Manu Vatuvei (Warriors), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Manly), Brent Webb (Leeds), Antonio Winterstein (Brisbane).