Kiwis squad topped up with ESL

Two English-based former New Zealand internationals will shore up the Kiwis rugby league squad ahead of the Tri-Nations opening match against the Kangaroos on October 15.

Second rower David Solomona and utility Motu Tony have been added to the 40-man squad - a day after Wests Tigers duo Benji Marshall and Dene Halatau withdrew on medical grounds.

Kiwis coach Brian McClennan will name his test 17 next week while a New Zealand A side will also be selected to play the curtain raiser against the Junior Kangaroos at Sydney's Telstra Stadium.

Solomona, who plays for English Super League strugglers Wakefield Trinity, is already home in Auckland while New Zealand Rugby League business manager Pat Carthy said Tony was also heading south after Hull was eliminated from last weekend's playoffs.

Tony, who played for the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL, gives coach Brian McClennan another option at hooker and five-eighth - two positions to fill given Marshall and Halatau's absence.

Tony played the last of his four tests in the opening Tri-Nations match last October - a 16-16 draw with the Kangaroos at North Harbour Stadium.

He was unavailable for the northern hemisphere leg of the competition due to family commitments.

After starting his English career with Castleford in 2004 Tony switched to Hull this season.

To further underline his versatility, Tony scored a try on the wing in Hull's 25-24 upset of Leeds in the Challenge Cup final last month.

Solomona, who played in losing NRL grand finals for the Sydney Roosters and Parramatta in 2000-01, played six tests as a specialist impact player between 2001-02.

His last test cap was against France in 2002.

The addition of other English-based players for the first Kangaroos test is unlikely because St Helens, Bradford and Leeds are still alive in the Super League title race.

McClennan said he would not rush to name his test side, leaving the announcement possibly until Tuesday.

"If we throw out our 17, they'll do video analysis of every player. They'll dissect us like at school in science with the old frog."

Although the Kiwis will be rank outsiders against the Kangaroos McClennan drew comfort from the way the NRL competition had unfolded this season, with two unfancied sides fighting out the title decider.

"In sport it's not necessarily the most skilful players who are going to win the game, it's the ones that stick to the system and their beliefs," he said.

"It's what you do with that you've got that counts."