League: Mannering to play lock in Anzac test

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney, right, with captain Simon Mannering. Photo / Getty Images
Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney, right, with captain Simon Mannering. Photo / Getty Images

Kiwis captain Simon Mannering will play at lock in Friday night's Anzac test against Australia in Canberra following the likely suspension of Jeremy Smith.

Smith faces four to six weeks on the sidelines after being slapped with a grade three dangerous-contact charge by the NRL match review committee after Penrith forward Matt Robinson was stretchered from the field in a neck brace. Melbourne's Tohu Harris was called in as a replacement for Smith and has been named as 18th man.

It means Mannering, normally a second-rower or centre, will play at lock, with Frank Pritchard and Kevin Proctor playing in the second row.

Mannering is familiar with the position, having played there in last October's test against Australia in Townsville, and coach Stephen Kearney is mindful of having his captain in the middle of the park in the absence of Smith and Benji Marshall (toe injury). Sonny Bill Williams is also unavailable because of a knee injury.

Elijah Taylor will provide dummy-half cover off the bench _ a role similar to the ones the utility performed in last year's Townsville test and also for the Warriors at the start of the season _ but there will be hopes Issac Luke can play close to a full game.
Roosters wing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been left out of the 18 for the Kiwis, who haven't won the Anzac test since 1998.

New Zealand rugby league side to play Australia at Canberra Stadium, Canberra, on Friday night (10.10pm NZT): Josh Hoffman (Brisbane Broncos), Sam Perrett (Canterbury Bulldogs), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers), Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra Dragons), Kieran Foran (Manly Sea Eagles), Shaun Johnson (Warriors), Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Issac Luke (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Frank Pritchard (Canterbury Bulldogs), Kevin Proctor (Melbourne Storm), Simon Mannering (c - Warriors). Interchange: Elijah Taylor (Warriors), Sam McKendry (Penrith Panthers), Ben Matulino (Warriors), Alex Glenn (Brisbane Broncos). 18th man: Tohu Harris (Melbourne Storm)

- APNZ

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