Boss claims club justified in ruling out 'gang of six' from the Kiwis.

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle says the club is "more than justified" in extending the punishment of the "gang of six" into the international arena.

It was confirmed yesterday that the NRL club blocked Manu Vatuvei, Ben Matulino and Bodene Thompson from being available for Kiwis selection, as well as withdrawing Sam Lisone (Samoa), Konrad Hurrell and Albert Vete (Tonga) from contention for the Pacific tests next Saturday.

It continues the fallout from last week, when the six players were found to have "breached club standards". They were initially stood down from yesterday's clash with the Dragons, before the punishment was extended to the representative fixtures.

"Getting selected to play for your country is a reward," said Doyle. "It's a reward for how you play on the field, and how you conduct yourself off the field. These players did not stick to the standards that the club has set in place and are therefore not entitled to be rewarded with international football."

Advertisement

Doyle said he was aware the move would polarise opinions but was comfortable with the club's stance.

Coach Andrew McFadden confirmed the club was entitled to hold back the players from test football.

"You can stop them from playing rep duties and sometimes it's for different reasons," said McFadden.

He was also unsure whether, in the wake of the 26-10 over the Dragons yesterday, the likes of Vatuvei and Matulino would return to play Penrith in Christchurch on May 14.

"We'll see," said McFadden. "We will talk to those guys and make sure everyone understands that can't happen again. Everyone make mistakes and these guys have been held accountable now. They deserve a second chance but whether that is enough to get them into the team ... we'll see."

The continuing fallout overshadowed the naming of the Kiwis team last night, which was most notable for the elevation of Jesse Bromwich to captain and the absence of struggling hooker Issac Luke.

Bromwich is skipper in the absence of the injured Simon Mannering and it is due recognition for the Melbourne Storm prop, who has been close to the No1 prop in the game over the past two seasons.

"He ticks all the right boxes," said Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney. "We certainly saw that in England, where Jesse was part of the leadership group."

Luke's dumping had been telegraphed - even by the player himself - but it is still a brave move.

Parramatta forward Manu Ma'u also gets his first international call-up, while Penrith winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will hope he can finally take the field for his country, after being picked on two previous occasions before withdrawing.

There are 13 survivors from the tour of England last year while Shaun Johnson, Greg Eastwood and Jason Taumalolo return to the international arena after missing that trip.

Kiwis squad

• Adam Blair (Brisbane Broncos)
• Jesse Bromwich - captain (Melbourne Storm)
• Lewis Brown (Manly Sea Eagles)
• Greg Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs)
• Alex Glenn (Brisbane Broncos)
• Tohu Harris (Melbourne Storm)
• Peta Hiku (Penrith Panthers)
• Shaun Johnson (NZ Warriors)
• Jordan Kahu (Brisbane Broncos)
• Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters)
• Manu Ma'u (Parramatta Eels)
• Sam Moa (Sydney Roosters)
• Jason Nightingale (St George Dragons)
• Kodi Nikorima (Brisbane Broncos)
• Kevin Proctor (Melbourne Storm)
• Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys)
• Martin Taupau (Manly Sea Eagles)
• Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers)
• Danny Levi (19th man) (Newcastle Knights)