David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

League: Jesse Bromwich to captain new-look Kiwis squad

Jesse Bromwich will captain a new-look Kiwis squad.
Jesse Bromwich will captain a new-look Kiwis squad.

Jesse Bromwich will captain a new-look Kiwis squad containing five rookies for next week's test against Australia in Perth and the subsequent Four Nations tournament in the UK.

New coach David Kidwell has stamped his mark on the side, naming Warriors backs David Fusitu'a and Solomone Kata, Penrith playmaker Te Maire Martin, and Canberra pair of back-rower Joseph Tapine and in-form wing Jordan Rapana.

Former captain Simon Mannering is included in the 24-man squad but Kidwell opted to retain Bromwich as skipper after he led the Kiwis in the 16-0 transtasman test defeat to the Kangaroos in May.

Kidwell insists Mannering is happy with the change, which comes after he was also replaced as Warriors captain by Ryan Hoffman prior to the start of the NRL season.

"Jesse did a great job leading the team in Simon's absence and, at this stage of his career, Simon is just as happy not having the weight of captaincy on him," said Kidwell.

"I've talked to Simon and he's in full support of it. They will both be part of a strong leadership group that set a strong culture for this team."

Kidwell, in his first time in charge of the national side since being named as Stephen Kearney's successor a fortnight ago, said the selections were made with an eye towards developing players ahead of next year's World Cup.

Veteran wing Manu Vatuvei is a notable non-selection, along with incumbent prop Sam Moa, however his Sydney Roosters front-row partner Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has been chosen for the first time since the failed 2013 World Cup campaign.

Several Kiwis regulars were unavailable through injury including Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Peta Hiku, Dean Whare, Kieran Foran, Ben Matulino, Alex Glenn and Kodi Nikorima.

Other uncapped players such as young Panthers back-rower James Fisher-Harris, and dual New Zealand and Australia eligible pair of Cowboys rookie Kalyn Ponga and Storm wing Suliasi Vunivalu were considered but ultimately overlooked.

"We're always looking one step ahead, whether that's to next year's World Cup or beyond, and we also think all these players can play a big part in keeping the Kiwis on top for many years to come," said Kidwell.

"We've tried to achieve a balance between players who are proven at test level and those that are the future of the Kiwis.

"Hopefully we'll see Kalyn in the future in the Kiwis jersey."

Halfback Shaun Johnson and lock Jason Taumalolo have both overcome respective quad and knee injuries and are shaping as certain starters against the Kangaroos at Nib Stadium on October 15.

The Kiwis have a wealth of back-row talent and depth in the outside backs and Kidwell indicated versatility would be an important factor in finalising his 17 each week.

The halves are one area of concern, with only the uncapped Martin and previous fill-in five-eighth Tohu Harris, offering cover to Johnson and Thomas Leuluai.

Kidwell aims to build upon the Kiwis recent successful game plan based on forward dominance and backline flair and while combinations will be built in Perth, he hopes success follows in the northern hemisphere.

"We haven't been successful in the UK for 10 years," he said.

"I've got to bring my own style to the Kiwis and I've got what is hopefully a winning game plan that suits that team.

"The Perth test is my first focus and making sure we get in tight together and we want to make sure we perform."

The Kiwis squad will assemble in Perth next weekend and open their Four Nations defence against hosts England on October 30 (NZT) at Huddersfield, before games against Australia on November 6 and Scotland on November 12.

Kiwis squad:
Gerard Beale, Adam Blair, Jesse Bromwich, Lewis Brown, Greg Eastwood, David Fusitu'a, Tohu Harris, Shaun Johnson, Jordan Kahu, Solomone Kata, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Thomas Leuluai, Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Te Maire Martin, Manu Ma'u, Jason Nightingale, Kevin Proctor, Jordan Rapana, Joseph Tapine, Jason Taumalolo, Martin Taupau, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

- NZ Herald

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