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JWH, eight rookies in extended Kiwi squad

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/09/2016

Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has been offered a pathway back into the New Zealand fold after being named in coach Stephen Kearney's Four Nations train-on squad.

Waerea-Hargreaves, 27, has not played for the Kiwis since their 34-2 thrashing by Australia in the 2013 World Cup final.

But he was named among 23 players selected by Kearney from clubs who did not qualify for the NRL finals series, as the coach ponders his squad for the Four Nations tournament in England starting in October.

Kearney said he was impressed by Waerea-Hargreaves after his return from a serious knee injury.

"His form has been pretty good this year," Kearney said.

An additional 13 players will be named from teams still in the premiership hunt, before Kearney whittles the squad to 24 after the NRL grand final.

Eight players named on Wednesday are uncapped for NZ, including Warriors quartet Solomone Kata, David Fusitu'a, Sam Lisone and Bodene Thompson.

Other potential Kiwi debutants include Tigers centre Tim Simona, Eels centre Brad Takairangi, Roosters prop Isaac Liu and Manly forward Addin Fonua-Blake.

"A lot is about getting the experience for some young boys," Kearney said.

"It's about looking to the future, next year's international football with the World Cup."

Veteran five-eighth Thomas Leuluai was included in the 23 and will replace the unavailable Kieran Foran in the No.6 jersey.

Broncos young gun Kodi Nikorima, who started at five-eighth in the Anzac Day Test this year, has been ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Kearney also confirmed on Wednesday that Warriors stalwart Simon Mannering would skipper the side if fit.

He listed Canberra flyer Jordan Rapana, Cowboys back rower Jason Taumalolo and Storm duo Kenny Bromwich and Tohu Harris as Kiwi standouts in the 2016 NRL campaign.

All four are still in the NRL finals and are yet to be named for the Four Nations.

KIWIS TRAIN-ON SQUAD: Lewis Brown, Addin Fonua-Blake, David Fusitu'a, Shaun Johnson, Solomone Kata, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Thomas Leuluai, Sam Lisone, Isaac Liu, Tuimoala Lolohea, Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino, Manu Ma'u, Sam Moa, Jason Nightingale, Tim Simona, Brad Takairangi, Martin Taupau, Elijah Taylor, Bodene Thompson, Manu Vatuvei, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

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