Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Rugby League: Harris hot chance to start at 6

Kiwis league coach Stephen Kearney may spring another selection shock ahead of the Anzac test - with Tohu Harris a possibility to be used at five-eighth on Friday. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Kiwis league coach Stephen Kearney may spring another selection shock ahead of the Anzac test - with Tohu Harris a possibility to be used at five-eighth on Friday. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Kiwis league coach Stephen Kearney may spring another selection shock ahead of the Anzac test - with Tohu Harris a possibility to be used at five-eighth on Friday.

The Kiwis team will be named this morning and it is expected that Harris will slot into the halves alongside Shaun Johnson.

If he does start at six it won't be the first time. Harris was also used in that position during the 2014 Anzac test, when injury had robbed the Kiwis of several frontline backs.

But it is unusual, and a big ask for the Melbourne Storm back rower. The situation has arisen due to several factors. Kieran Foran's withdrawal, the need to play Peta Hiku at fullback and Kearney's reluctance to go back in time and give Benji Marshall another shot at international level.

Harris is an immensely talented player and has filled in with aplomb at centre for the Storm on occasions, most recently against the Warriors in round three of the NRL.

But helping to run a backline in a test match - and marking Johnathan Thurston - is another issue altogether.

Part of Kearney's strategy may be to use Harris in the early exchanges - to soak up some of the physical barrage - before giving Kodi Nikorima a chance in the halves later in the match in Newcastle.

Nikorima impressed with his composure and versatility on the Kiwis' tour of England last year and has continued that form for the Broncos this year.

Lewis Brown is the likely starter in the No 9 jersey in place of Issac Luke, though Nikorima could also get a run at dummy half during the match.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will make his long awaited debut, after two false starts, and Manu Ma'u will be another rookie on show.

The Kiwis completed a light training session at the picturesque Moore Park yesterday afternoon. It was low intensity stuff, with Kearney taking his team through some tactical walk-throughs.

Roosters wing Shaun Kenny-Dowall watched on from the sideline wearing a moon boot, while there are also some injury concerns over Hiku. Gerard Beale arrived mid-way through the session as a replacement for injured Broncos utility Alex Glenn.

Today the Kiwis have an opposed session with the Junior Kiwis in Parramatta before making the trip to Newcastle in the afternoon.

Likely Kiwis lineup

1. Peta Hiku
2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
3. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
4. Jordan Kahu
5. Jason Nightingale
6. Tohu Harris
7. Shaun Johnson
8. Jason Taumalolo
9. Kevin Proctor
10. Greg Eastwood
11. Jesse Bromwich
12. Lewis Brown
13. Sam Moa

Interchange: Kodi Nikorima, Martin Taupau, Manu Ma'u, Adam Blair.

- NZ Herald

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