Junior Kiwis five-eighth Te Maire Martin and try-scoring supremo Curtis Rona are the latest newcomers brought into the NZ Kiwis train-on squad this week for the upcoming England tour.
Born in Tokoroa, Martin (19) was a member of the national age-group side that fell narrowly to the Junior Kangaroos in May, but was recently named to his second consecutive Holden Cup Team of the Year. His Wests Tigers side was knocked out of the NYC playoffs last weekend and he will switch to the Penrith Panthers for next season.
In his first season with the Canterbury Bulldogs, Rona, from Waitara, showed his knack for crossing the chalk, leading the NRL try rankings for much of the competition, before finally losing his spot to flying Fijian Semi Radradra of Parramatta Eels.
The pair join recent internationals Gerard Beale (Kiwi #767), Greg Eastwood (Kiwi #737) and Sosaia Feki (#788) in the extended Kiwis group, which now numbers 23, with two weeks remaining in the NRL season.
Players will be added to the squad as their commitments to NRL clubs end for the year.
Train-on camps begin this week in Auckland and Sydney, with the 23-strong touring side to be announced soon after the NRL Premiership Grand Final on October 4.
The tour of England features three tests – November 1 in Hull, November 7 in London and November 14 in Wigan – with a warm-up game against Leeds Rhinos on October 23.
The NZ Kiwis train-on squad so far is:
Gerard Beale (Cronulla Sharks)
Lewis Brown (Penrith Panthers)
Manaia Cherrington (Wests Tigers)
Greg Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Sosaia Feki (Cronulla Sharks)
Kieran Foran (Manly Sea Eagles)
Bryson Goodwin (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Peta Hiku (Manly Sea Eagles)
Solomone Kata (NZ Warriors)
Tuimoala Lolohea (NZ Warriors)
Issac Luke (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Simon Mannering (NZ Warriors)
Te Maire Martin (Wests Tigers)
Ben Matulino (NZ Warriors)
Manu Ma'u (Parramatta Eels)
Sam McKendry (Penrith Panthers)
Jason Nightingale (St George Dragons)
Curtis Rona (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Tim Simona (Wests Tigers)
Martin Taupau (Wests Tigers)
Elijah Taylor (Penrith Panthers)
Bodene Thompson (NZ Warriors)
Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers)