Penrith trio Dean Whare, Lewis Brown and rookie sensation Dallin Watene-Zelezniak have been named in the final New Zealand squad for the upcoming Four Nations tournament.
After a successful debut season that resulted in Watene-Zelezniak sharing Penrith’s Rookie of the Year award with Bryce Cartwright, the youngster will now line-up for the biggest games of his career for the Kiwis.
Brown’s inclusion in the squad marks the first time since 2011 that he has been selected for representative football.
“After our World Cup disappointment last year, I think we made some very positive strides at this year’s Anzac Test,” said New Zealand coach, Stephen Kearney
“We get a few older heads back for this campaign – they will provide some experience, and hopefully will feed off the energy and passion from those younger guys.
“We’re very focused on building a team and culture that will see us challenge for the next Rugby League World Cup in 2017, so these new players now have a chance to become part of that long-term process.”
The team was named today at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium, during a visit by an Australian Rugby League delegation that included Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens and Dally M Medal winner Jarryd Hayne. The delegation met with Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and civic officials to discuss preparations for the Four Nations final on November 15.
Kiwis squad: Gerard Beale (St George Illawarra Dragons), Adam Blair (Wests Tigers), Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Lewis Brown (Penrith Panthers), Greg Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs), Sosaia Feki (Cronulla Sharks), Kieran Foran (Manly Sea Eagles), Tohu Harris (Melbourne Storm), Siliva Havili (Vodafone Warriors), Peta Hiku (Manly Sea Eagles), Shaun Johnson (Vodafone Warriors), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), Thomas Leuluai (Vodafone Warriors), Issac Luke (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Simon Mannering (Vodafone Warriors), Suaia Matagi (Vodafone Warriors), Sam Moa (Sydney Roosters), Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra Dragons), Kevin Proctor (Melbourne Storm), Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys), Martin Taupau (Wests Tigers), Manu Vatuvei (Vodafone Warriors), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers), Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers)