Ahead of the rescheduled 2020 NRL season, here is an XIII of NRL players who have played in the Waikato in the past.
The Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the competition after the first two rounds. The New Zealand Warriors made the move to Australia on May 3 to start training and are based there for the foreseeable future.
Round three of the NRL will kick-off on Thursday, May 28 with the Brisbane Broncos taking on the Parramatta Eels at 9:50pm NZT.
Waikato NRL XIII:
1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak - College Old Boys
Canterbury Bulldogs, Kiwis, Penrith Panthers and Māori All Stars
Born: 1995 NRL Games: 118 Tests: 12 NRL Career: 2014-Present
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is still a part of the Canterbury Bulldogs team and the regular captain of the Kiwis. Dallin follows in the footsteps of his great grandfather, Steve Watene, who was the first Māori to captain the kiwis.
2. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak - College Old Boys
Penrith Panthers, Māori All Stars, Tonga 9s and Wests Tigers
Born: 1991 NRL Games: 30 Tests: 0 NRL Career: 2017-Present
In February, Malakai was selected to play for the Māori All Stars against the Indigenous All Stars. He was named in the team alongside younger brother Dallin. He remains in the Penrith Panthers squad for 2020.
3. Shaun Kenny-Dowall - Tūrangawaewae/Ngaruawahia Panthers
Kiwis, Newcastle Knights, New Zealand Māori, NRL All Stars and Sydney Roosters
Born: 1988 NRL Games: 279 Tests: 21 NRL Career: 2007-2019
After leaving for the UK post 2019 NRL season, Kenny-Dowall has played six games for Hull Kingston Rovers.
4. Harlan Collins – Taniwharau
Manly Sea Eagles U20, New Zealand Māori Under 15, Queensland Rangers, Victoria Thunderbolts U20 and Wynnum Manly Seagulls BRL A Grade
Born: 1997 NRL Games: 0 Tests: 0 NRL Career: -
Collins started on the wing for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls team that took out the 2019 BRL A Grade In Safe Hands Cup Grand Final in Brisbane. They were the first team to win the cup twice.
5. Sam Perrett - College Old Boys
All Golds, Canterbury Bulldogs, Kiwis and Sydney Roosters
Born: 1985 NRL Games: 254 Tests: 21 NRL Career: 2004-2016
Perrett retired from rugby league in 2016. These days he is a custom home building specialist and director for Perrett Group in Sydney.
6. Te Maire Martin – Tūrangawaewae
Kiwis, North Queensland Cowboys and Penrith Panthers
Born: 1995 NRL Games: 62 Tests: 4 NRL Career: 2016-2019
In January 2020, Martin retired effective immediately from rugby league after not being cleared for contact training due to a small bleed on his brain.
7. Isaac John – Tūrangawaewae/Pacific Sharks
Cook Islands, Kiwis, Manly Sea Eagles, New Zealand Warriors and Penrith Panthers
Born: 1988 NRL Games: 35 Tests: 5 NRL Career: 2009-2015
John is a co-owner and creative director for clothing brands YKTR and YKTR Sports alongside NRL players James Segeyaro and Corey Norman. John also hosts his own podcast, The Ice Project.
8. Sam Rapira – Hukanui
Kiwis, Kiwis Rugby League World Champion, New Zealand Māori and New Zealand Warriors
Born: 1987 NRL Games: 173 Tests: 13 NRL Career: 2006-2015
Rapira retired from rugby league in 2018 after injuring his hand while playing for Toulouse.
9. Lance Hohaia – Taniwharau
Exiles, Kiwis, Kiwis Rugby League World Champion and New Zealand Warriors
Born: 1983 NRL Games: 185 Tests: 28 NRL Career: 2002-2011
Hohaia lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the United States. He was a real estate agent for several years there and is now the head coach from men's rugby at Davenport University.
10. Jesse Royal – Tūrangawaewae/Ngaruawahia Panthers
Newcastle Knights and New Zealand Warriors
Born: 1980 NRL Games: 65 Tests: 0 NRL Career: 2007-2010
After retiring in 2010, Royal returned to Newcastle to work in the mines there. In 2013 he helped his local club the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs to their first grand final in 18 years.
11. Wairangi Koopu – Taniwharau
Kiwis, Melbourne Storm, New Zealand Māori and New Zealand Warriors
Born: 1980 NRL Games: 171 Tests: 5 NRL Career: 1999-2009
Koopu is now a reporter for The Crowd Goes Wild sports entertainment show on New Zealand's Prime TV. He is also a presenter and field director for Māori Television show, Code.
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12. Louis Anderson – Taniwharau
Exiles, Kiwis and New Zealand Warriors
Born: 1985 NRL Games: 67 Tests: 18 NRL Career: 2004-2007
Louis Anderson played 143 games for Perpignan based Catalan Dragons before retiring post-2018. He was the just the third overseas player to reach a century of Super League appearances while playing for the team. Anderson moved back to New Zealand in 2019 and now owns his own business, The Window Washer NZ.
13. Tawera Nikau - Rangiriri Eels
Cronulla Sharks, Kiwis, Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Māori
Born: 1967 NRL Games: 114 Tests: 22 NRL Career: 1995-1999
Nikau is managing director for Team One International, a training company which is dedicated to 'unleashing human potential'. He has been a professional speaker throughout Australasia for the past decade.