The 30-member squad includes the likes of Jordan Rapana, Anthony Gelling, Adam Tangata, Tepai Moeroa, Tupou Sopoaga, Alex Glenn, Valentine Holmes, Eric Newbigging, Sam Mataora and Tinirau Arona.
The Kukis, coached by Alex Chan, will take on the Tongans on October 17 in a do-or-die clash to earn their ticket to the World Cup which will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson, who met up with the national team technical coach Tony Iro last week in New Zealand, says the final 18 member squad will assemble on October 12.
Carlson says the expertise and experience of the former New Zealand Kiwi rep and assistant coach who is now the assistant coach with the New Zealand Warriors will be crucial in their campaign.
Iro says the squad will be a mix of experienced and youth players, with nine players from the 2013 RLWC returning for the qualifiers.
Some of the players that featured in the last World Cup were unavailable because of injuries.
He says this has provided an opportunity for the young guns to make a name for themselves at an international level.
“Playing for the nation is a double bonus, you are there proudly representing your family and your country. Secondly, you want to take advantage of the opportunity to create a pathway for your future in the professional world of rugby league.”
Valentine Holmes (Cronulla Sharks), Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders), Anthony Gelling (Wigan), Marata Niukora (Warriors), Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters), Wallace Tangiti (Rabbitohs), Johnathon Ford (Wyong), Tinirau Arona (Cronulla Sharks), Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers), Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters), Tepai Moeroa (Parramatta Eels), Alex Glenn (Brisbane Broncos), Tupou Sopoaga (Penrith Panthers), Sam Mataora (Newcastle Knights), Adam Tangata (Halifax/UK), Makahesi Makatoa (Bulldogs), Eric Newbigging (Parramatta Eels), Chance Peni (West Tigers), Aron Teroi (Storm), Drury Low (CRL/Narellan), Rueben Porter (Sydney Roosters), John Papalii (West Belconnen), Esan Marsters (Wests Tigers), Moses Noovao-McGreal (Manly Sea Eagles), Francis Molo (Broncos), Fred Pakutoa (Wente-Magpies), Paul Ulberg (NZ Warriors), Charnze Nicoll Klokstad (Storm), Ezra Howe Jnr (Canberra Raiders), Carne Doyle-Manga (Wyong).
Coach: Alex Chan, Assistant: Ezra Howie, Technical Coach: Tony Iro, Managers: Charlie Hoff, Tere Glassie