League: Kiwis coach eyes up Eel

By Jim Morton

Steve Kearney
Steve Kearney

Kiwis coach Steve Kearney is eyeing rookie Parramatta backrower Manu Ma'u for his test pack as Sonny Bill Williams' international league career creeps towards an end.

Just three weeks out from the May 2 Anzac test, Kearney admitted he was unsure of Williams' intentions of playing in the World Cup final rematch against Australia at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

The Roosters star will return to rugby at the end of the season and the indications are he may well have played his last international.

Kearney isn't aware whether Williams had made himself available for the Anzac clash but will sound him out in the next week.

Williams' World Cup experience was soured by reports that named he and Kieran Foran as players being investigated by the New Zealand Rugby League for Stilnox abuse.

A tight-lipped Kearney said no players had been stood down following the investigation but the matter had been dealt with.

While SBW stands among the best backrowers in the game, the Kiwis aren't short on options, with Kearney lavishing praise on Parramatta's uncapped Ma'u and talking up the depth in his ranks.

Auckland product Ma'u only arrived in Sydney last year after rebuilding his life following two years in jail for a gang-related assault in 2007. The 25-year-old - who made his NRL debut in round one this season - has been a key contributor for the rejuvenated Eels who play the Roosters tomorrow night.

-AAP

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