17 Jun 2019

Sport: Jamayne Isaako latest player to swap Kiwis for Toa Samoa

12:06 pm on 17 June 2019

Brisbane Broncos winger Jamayne Isaako will make his Toa Samoa debut at the weekend after becoming the latest rugby league player to switch his international allegiance.

The 2018 NRL rookie of the year played two tests for the Kiwis last year but joins Martin Taupau in swapping black for blue ahead of this weekend's Oceania Cup test against Papua New Guinea, in a Samoan squad that will be captained by his Broncos team-mate Anthony Milford.

Toa Samoa head coach Matt Parish said they add to a very strong line-up to take the Kumuls.

"They're very good players but we've got a lot of good players to choose from," he said. "They've certainly earnt their right to be picked so we're looking forward to them playing."

Martin Taupau made his international debut for Samoa six years ago and told NRL.COM that after giving his all for New Zealand in 24 tests the love of his family and heritage convinced him to return.

"I think the thought and feeling has been there for many many years," he said. "Obviously I made my international debut back in 2013 for Samoa. You look on the back of what Tonga has done - they've got an enormous following, everyone backs them and that's how it should be, it should be an equal playing level so that's what hopefully this will bring on our Pacific nations and everyone involved in international rugby league and a lot of players will hopefully look at this and it will make the decision easier for them."

Martin Taupau will swap a black jersey for blue.

Martin Taupau will swap a black jersey for blue. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Newcastle Knights prop Herman Ese'ese and Canterbury Bulldogs second-rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner are also back in the Toa Samoa line-up 12 months after defecting to New Zealand alongside Ken Maumalo and Leeson Ah Mau.

Matt Parish said the advent of the Oceania Cup, which also includes Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, is helping Pacific Islands nations keep hold of their best players.

"As you know we've been crying out for more games in the international arena and that's the only way you're going to get the players," he said. "We've been able to do that now so we're looking forward to building on this year and building into the future culminating in the 2021 World Cup."

Samoa rugby league coach Matt Parish.

Samoa rugby league coach Matt Parish. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Jamayne Isaako is one of five players poised to make their Toa Samoa debut against PNG, alongside Brisbane Broncos second rower Jaydn Su'A, Newcastle Knights centre Hymel Hunt, New Zealand Warriors halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita and Melbourne Storm centre Marion Seve.

Meanwhile, Brisbane Broncos rookie Xavier Coates is one of six new caps in the PNG Kumuls squad named by head coach Michael Marum.

The 18-year-old is yet to make his NRL debut but produced a man-of-the-match performance for Queensland in the Under 18s State of Origin earlier this year.

PNG Hunters fullback Terry Wapi has also made the cut after only four appearances in the Intrust Super Cup, while Edene Gebbie, Edwin Ipape, Kyle Laybutt and Zev John all represented Papua New Guinea against the England Knights last year but have yet to make their full test debut.

PNG Hunters newcomer Terry Wapi.

PNG Hunters newcomer Terry Wapi is now set to make his test debut. Photo: Supplied/Melvin Levongo

Toa Samoa squad:

Anthony Milford (c), Josh Aloiai, Fa'amanu Brown, Michael Chee Kam, Herman Ese'ese, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, James Gavet, Hymel Hunt, Jamayne Isaako, Mason Lino, Jarome Luai, David Nofoaluma, Junior Paulo, Marion Seve, Jaydn Su'A, Jorge Taufua, Martin Taupau, Chanel Harris-Tavita

Papua New Guinea squad:

Edene Gebbie, Edwin Ipape, Enock Maki, James Segeyaro, Junior Rau, Justin Olam, Kurt Baptiste, Kyle Laybutt, Lachlan Lam, Luke Page, Moses Meninga, Nixon Putt, Rhadley Brawa, Rhyse Martin, Stanton Albert, Terry Wapi, Xavier Coates, Zev John