1 May 2017

Sport: NRL stars missing from Pacific Test squads

12:59 pm on 1 May 2017

A number of NRL stars are missing from the final line-ups for this weekends Pacific Rugby League Test triple-header.

Samoa and Tonga released their provisional squads on Friday to take on England and Fiji at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

But UK-based second-rower Sika Manu, Sydney Roosters duo Michael Jennings and Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Manly wing Jorge Taufua and Cronulla Sharks prop Andrew Fifita have been omitted from the updated Tongan team.

Fifita withdrew from the Mate Ma'a squad after being called into the Kangaroos side for Friday's Trans-Tasman test against New Zealand.

Sharks prop Andrew Fifita during Cronulla's 2016 NRL Grand Final win

Andrew Fifita has opted for Australia over Tonga. Photo: Photosport

Gold Coast Titans centre Konrad Hurrell replaces Jennings in the midfield, Moses Suli comes in for Tafua, Addin Fonua-Blake starts in place of Fifita, Joe Ofahengaue is promoted to the run-on side for Taukeiaho and Tony Williams is called up to replace Sika Manu.

Vunivalu snubs Kiwis for Fiji

Fiji have won the international tug of war for Melbourne Storm wing Suliasi Vunivalu.

The 21-year-old will play for the Bati against Tonga on Saturday after turning down an approach from New Zealand.

Fij-born winger Suliasi Vunivalu is tackled during the 2016 NRL Grand Final.

Fij-born winger Suliasi Vunivalu is tackled during the 2016 NRL Grand Final. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fiji coach Mick Potter said Suva-born flyer did not require any convincing.

"He certainly adds some strikepower to our edge," he said.

"He's a player that can jump high for kicks, he's elusive, he's strong in the backfield. He certainly adds some zip for us so it does give us some potency on the edge with him on the wing."

Jarryd Hayne playing for Fiji at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.

Jarryd Hayne playing for Fiji at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

However Potter said Gold Coast Titans star Jarryd Hayne and Manly's Akuila Uate will not feature in the Pacific Test but remained in the frame for the World Cup later this year.

"I spoke to Jarryd and he wanted to start to pay the [Gold Coast Titans] club back for missing those six odd weeks that he's missed," he said.

"Just given that he's only been back a week or so [from an ankle injury] and he's come back on fire, hasn't he, but at the end of the year he's very keen to participate for Fiji."

"Akuila Uate, he would be there but he mentioned last year about trying to give the young blokes a go," he said.

"If I rung him I think he'd jump at the chance but I think he's got his eye - from what the papers said - on a New South Wales jumper potentially...so he suggested that he'd prefer the young guys to start to play with the Bati team."

Mick Potter said veteran South Sydney forward John Sutton and Parramatta Eels wing Semi Radradra were also not considered for selection.

PNG Hunters dominate Kumuls team

The PNG Hunters have provided the bulk of the Kumuls squad to face the Cook Islands on Saturday afternoon.

Head coach Michael Marum selected ten players from the Intrust Super Cup high-flyers, while Redcliffe centre Thompson Teteh and Melbourne Storm wing Justin Olam are former Hunters players.

PNG celebrate beating Fiji in the 2016 Pacific Test.

PNG celebrate beating Fiji in the 2016 Pacific Test. Photo: Facebook / NRL - National Rugby League

Olam, St George Illawarra Dragons wing Nene McDonald and Canterbury Bulldogs duo Rod Griffin and Rhys Martin are all contracted to NRL teams.

Michael Marum said incumbent Kumuls captain David Mead was unavailable because of injury, while Cronulla hooker James Segeyaro, Canberra Raiders duo Kurt Baptiste and Kato Ottio and Ray Thompson from the North Queensland were also not considered.

"They have been injured: Kato Ottio, Ray Thompson just started playing back - Ray Thompson only played his second game last weekend, Kato Ottio only played his first game last weekend as well," he said.

"Kurt Baptiste is due to play his first game after the bye weekend so those are the players we're looking at for the World Cup as well."

PNG Hunters and Kumuls coach Michael Marum.

Michael Marum. Photo: PNG Rugby League

New-look Cook Islands team happy to be involved

The Cook Islands have selected a raw line-up for their Pacific Test debut with almost half the 18-man squad new to international rugby league.

Brisbane Broncos second rower Alex Glenn will captain the team is his first test for the Kukis since 2010, while Charnze Nicol-Klokstad will add to his two caps just days after scoring on his NRL debut for the New Zealand Warriors.

The Cook Islands team at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

The Cook Islands team at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

With the Cook Islands not a part of this year's World Cup, head coach Tony Iro said this weekend is an opportunity to take a first step towards the next tournament in 2021.

"We've selected a few young guys who have shown a real passion and desire to represent so we're confident they're going to deliver on the day," he said.

"We've surrounded them with a few old heads, who have been there and done that, but we're just looking forward to the week.

"Test matches and official test matches have been few and far between for the Cook Island team so to have this one part of what's going to be a really exciting weekend is great for our game and hopefully it will encourage some guys of Cook Islands heritage to put their hand up."

Mate Ma'a Tonga squad:

1. Will Hopoate - Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

2. Daniel Tupou - Sydney Roosters

3. Konrad Hurrell - Gold Coast Titans

4. Brenko Lee - Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

5. Moses Suli - Wests Tigers

6. Tuimoala Lolohea - New Zealand Warriors

7. Mafoa'aeata Hingano - New Zealand Warriors

8. Leilani Latu - Penrith Panthers

9. Siliva Havili - St George Illawarra Dragons

10. Addin Fonua-Blake - Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

11. Felise Kaufusi - Melbourne Storm

12. Tony Williams - Cronulla Sutherland Sharks

13. Joe Ofahengaue - Brisbane Broncos

14. Sione Katoa - Penrith Panthers

15. Patrick Kaufusi - North Queensland Cowboys

16. Leivaha Pulu - Gold Coast Titans

17. Siosaia Vave - Parramatta Eels

18. Samisoni Langi - Penrith Panthers

19. Sione Vea - Tongan Rugby League

Fiji Bati Squad:

Waqa Blake (Penrith)

Kane Evans (Sydney Roosters)

Tui Kamikamica (Melbourne Storm)

Viliame Kikau (Penrith Panthers)

Apisai Koroisau (Manly Sea Eagles)

Taane Milne (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Marcelo Montoya (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)

Sitiveni Moceidreke (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Kevin Naiqama (Wests Tigers)

Ben Nakubuwai (Sunshine Coast)

Tyrone Phillips (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)

Henry Raiwalui (Manly Sea Eagles)

Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle Knights)

Jacob Saifiti (Newcastle Knights)

Korbin Sims (Brisbane Broncos)

Tariq Sims (St George Illawarra Dragons)

James Storer (Illawarra)

Eloni Vunakece (Sydney Roosters)

Suliasi Vunivalu (Melbourne Storm)

Papua New Guinea Kumuls squad:

1. Stargroth Amean - PNG Hunters

2. Justin Olam - Melbourne Storms

3. Thompson Teteh - Redcliffe Dolphins

4. Nene McDonald - St George Illawarra Dragons

5. Adex Wera - PNG Hunters

6. Watson Boas - PNG Hunters

7. Ase Boas - PNG Hunters

8. Henry Noki - PNG Hunters

9. Wartovo Puara Jnr - PNG Hunters

10. Luke Page - Burleigh Bears

11. Rod Griffin - Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

12. Rhys Martin - Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

13. Stanton Albert - PNG Hunters

14. Tommy Butterfield - East Tigers

15. Willie Minoga - PNG Hunters

16. Wellington Albert - PNG Hunters

17. Richard Pandia - Ipswich Jets

18. Nixon Put - PNG Hunters

Cook Islands Kukis squad:

1 Charnze Nicol-Klokstad -Warriors

2 Geoff Daniela - Illawarra

3 Esan Masters - West's Tigers

4 Marata Niukore - Parramatta

5 Reuben Rennie - Mounties

6 Johnathan Ford - Toulouse

7 Isaac John - Mounties

8 Makahesi Makatoa - Canberra

9 Aaron Teroi - Newcastle (UK)

10 Uiti Baker - West Newcastle

11 Carne Doyle-Manga - Tweed Heads

12 Alex Glenn - Brisbane

13 Esra Howe Junior - Tweed Heads

14 Moses McGreal - Sunshine Coast

15 Sam Mataora - Newcastle

16 David Munro - Townsville

17 Reuben Porter - Sydney City

18 Kobe Tararo - Gold Coast