4 Oct 2016

Rookies in Kiwis squad as Mannering loses captaincy

11:08 am on 4 October 2016

Five rookies have been named in the Kiwis rugby league squad to take on Australia in Perth next week and the subsequent Four Nations tournament.

Warriors centre Solomone Kata is one of five rookies in the Kiwis train-on squad.

Warriors centre Solomone Kata is one of five rookies in the Kiwis squad. Photo: Photosport

In his first selection as head coach, David Kidwell has named Warriors backs David Fusitu'a and Solomone Kata, Penrith five-eighth Te Maire Martin, Canberra second row Joseph Tapine and in-form Raiders team-mate Jordan Rapana.

If selected to play on tour, one of them will become Kiwi No.800.

"All of these players have shown exciting form during the NRL season and have certainly earned their selection on merit," Kidwell said.

"But we're always looking one step ahead, whether that's to next year's World Cup or beyond, and we also think all these players can play a big part in keeping the Kiwis on top for many years to come.

"In picking this team, we've tried to achieve a balance between players who are proven at test level and those that are the future of the Kiwis programme. Injuries play an unfortunate part in our game and some of these newcomers will get an immediate opportunity to show they're ready for the next level."

Kidwell has also opted to retain Melbourne Storm prop Jesse Bromwich as his captain, despite regular skipper Simon Mannering returning to the side.

Bromwich will continue the role he filled against Australia at Newcastle in May.

"Jesse did a great job leading the team earlier this year in Simon's absence and, at this stage of his career, I think Simon is just as happy not having the weight of captaincy on him," said Kidwell.

"Ultimately, they will both be part of a strong leadership group that set a strong culture for this team."

Kiwis regulars unavailable for the up-coming campaign include Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Peta Hiku, Dean Whare, Kieran Foran, Ben Matulino, Alex Glenn and Kodi Nikorima.

The Kiwis squad will assemble in Perth over next weekend for the test against Australia on October 15.

They open their Four Nations account against hosts England on Sunday, October 30 (NZ time) at Huddersfield, followed by Australia (November 6) and Scotland (November 12).

The 24-man NZ Kiwis squad is:

Gerard Beale

Adam Blair

Jesse Bromwich

Lewis Brown

Greg Eastwood

David Fusitu'a

Tohu Harris

Shaun Johnson

Jordan Kahu

Solomone Kata

Shaun Kenny-Dowall

Thomas Leuluai

Issac Luke

Simon Mannering

Te Maire Martin

Manu Ma'u

Jason Nightingale

Kevin Proctor

Jordan Rapana

Joseph Tapine

Jason Taumalolo

Martin Taupau

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak