League: Johnson, Taumalolo named among new Kiwis

Four debutants have been named in  the Kiwis squad for Friday's ANZAC test against Australia in Auckland. Photo / Getty Images.
Four debutants have been named in the Kiwis squad for Friday's ANZAC test against Australia in Auckland. Photo / Getty Images.

The future has arrived for the Kiwis as they attempt to win their first Anzac test since 1998.

The selection of four newcomers, including Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson and North Queensland prop Jason Taumalolo, feature in the New Zealand squad named today to face Australia at Eden Park on April 20.

Also named are three players who missed last year's Four Nations campaign - Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Frank Pritchard and Manu Vatuvei - but most interest will surround seeing Jesse Bromwich, Josh Hoffman, Johnson and Taumalolo in the Kiwis for the first time.

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney named an experienced team with 237 caps between them, but that will be blended with youth included the likely pairing of Johnson and captain Benji Marshall in the halves for the first time.

"Shaun is one of the best attacking talents in the game,'' Kearney said.

"We're looking forward to seeing him combine with Benji.''

Joining Johnson as a likely debutant in the backs is Josh Hoffman.

"Josh was very close to making the team last year before getting injured,'' Kearney said. "He has been superb at the back for the Broncos this year and he'll bring some real firepower to the squad.''

The new members in the forwards have been leading the way for two of the form teams of the NRL competition.

"I worked with Jesse at the Storm and he has continued to develop into an outstanding professional. And you couldn't resist the form of Jason. He's one of the most dynamic athletes in the NRL and we're delighted to have him in the Kiwis squad. It should really help his development.''

New Zealand squad for Anzac league test against Australia on Friday, April 20 at Eden Park is:

Gerard Beale (Broncos), Adam Blair (Tigers), Jesse Bromwich (Storm), Nathan Fien (Dragons), Alex Glenn (Broncos), Josh Hoffman (Broncos), Shaun Johnson (Warriors), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Roosters), Issac Luke (Rabbitohs), Simon Mannering (Warriors), Benji Marshall (Tigers), Ben Matulino( Warriors), Sam McKendry (Panthers), Jason Nightingale (Dragons), Frank Pritchard (Bulldogs), Jeremy Smith (Sharks), Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys), Manu Vatuvei (Warriors), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters).

- APNZ

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