Five potential rookies are among the first group of players named to the NZ Kiwis train-on squad for the upcoming tour of England.
Fourteen players, whose teams have been eliminated from NRL playoff contention, include NZ Warriors Tuimoana Lolohea and Solomone Kata, Parramatta’s Manu Mau, and Tim Simona and Manaia Cherrington of Wests Tigers.
None have played for the Kiwis yet.
Warriors forward Bodene Thompson has also never taken the field for the national side, although he was part of the squad that won last year’s Four Nations tournament.
The wider Kiwis group consists of about 40 players and more will be named over the next month as their seasons end.
Train-on camps will begin on September 23 in Auckland and Sydney, with the 23-strong touring side to be announced soon after the NRL Premiership Grand Final on October 4.
Players in the first group are:
Lewis Brown (Penrith Panthers), Manaia Cherrington (Wests Tgiers), Kieran Foran (Manly Sea Eagles), Peta Hiku (Manly Sea Eagles), Solomone Kata (NZ Warriors), Tuimoana Lolohea (NZ Warriors), Simon Mannering (NZ Warriors), Ben Matulino (NZ Warriors), Manu Mau (Parramatta Eels), Sam McKendry (Penrith Panthers), Tim Simona (Wests Tigers), Martin Taupau (Wests Tigers), Bodene Thompson (NZ Warriors), Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers)