ICYMI, yesterday the last six rounds of the #NRL draw were revealed.
10 hours ago
Vodafone Warriors centre Krisnan Inu has withdrawn from the Kiwis' touring squad for Sunday's one-off Test against the Kangaroos in Newcastle and the following 2011 Four Nations in England.
Inu was brought into the side on Friday as one of three replacements after Vodafone Warriors Manu Vatuvei and Shaun Johnson plus Manly's Steve Matai were ruled out on medical grounds.
Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney said Inu had since withdrawn for personal reasons. Teams are entitled to use 24 players at the Four Nations but Kearney said no replacement for Inu would be named at this stage.
The remaining 22 players have assembled in Sydney with the squad having its first field session at OKI Jubilee Oval later today.
With Vodafone Warriors utility Elijah Taylor and North Queensland winger Kalifa Faifai Loa coming into the squad as replacements, the Kiwis have seven players yet to play a Test, the others being Vodafone Warriors Kevin Locke and prop Russell Packer, Brisbane's Gerard Beale and Alex Glenn plus Melbourne's Kevin Proctor.
Locke was selected for the Kiwis' 2009 Four Nations campaign but didn't play a match while Beale was 19th man for the Kiwis in this year's Anzac Test and Glenn was in the Anzac Test squad in 2009 and 2010 but didn't make the playing line-up.
A total of seven players involved in the October 2 NRL grand final - six from the Vodafone Warriors - are included. Named from the premiership-winning Manly side is standoff Kieran Foran.
Apart from Locke, Taylor and Packer, the other Vodafone Warriors players are centre/second rower Lewis Brown - who made his Test debut in this year's Anzac Test - second rower Simon Mannering and prop Ben Matulino.
In all 16 of the 22 players were involved in finals football in the NRL or the English Super League.
Besides the seven in the NRL grand final, another four are from the Melbourne and Brisbane sides beaten in the preliminary finals - the Storm's Sika Manu and Proctor plus Brisbane's Beale and Glenn. Wigan's Thomas Leuluai also went within a win of making the English Super League grand final while St George Illawarra's Jason Nightingale and Nathan Fien played in the finals as did Kiwi captain Benji Marshall for Wests Tigers and Faifai Loa for North Queensland.
A total of 12 players have been ruled out of consideration due to injury - Josh Hoffman (Brisbane), Lance Hohaia (Vodafone Warriors), Sam Rapira (Vodafone Warriors), Matt Duffie (Melbourne), Sam Perrett (Sydney Roosters), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), Frank-Paul Nuuausala (Sydney Roosters), Greg Eastwood (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs) and Bronson Harrison (Canberra) plus Vatuvei, Matai and Johnson. In addition, Bulldogs second rower Frank Pritchard was unavailable after committing himself to Toa Samoa and now Inu has withdrawn.
The Kiwis will train for three days in Sydney before travelling to Newcastle for the Bill Kelly Cup Test against the Kangaroos at Ausgrid Stadium on October 16.
Following the Newcastle international, the Kiwis will return to Sydney before flying out to England for their Four Nations matches against Australia in Warrington on October 28, Wales at Wembley Stadium in London on November 5 and England at KC Stadium in Hull on November 12. The Four Nations final will be played at Elland Road in Leeds on November 19.