Cook Islands Rugby League remains optimistic of fielding a strong team at next year’s Rugby League World Cup despite the selection of five players of Cook Islands descent in the Kiwis’ World Cup squad.
Manu (Sydney Roosters), Charnze Nicoll-Klolstad (Canberra Raiders), Marata
Niukore (Parramatta Eels), Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders) and Joseph Tapine
(Canberra Raiders) have been named in New Zealand’s 38-member World Cup wider
have Cook Islands connection and could be eligible to represent the country at
the tournament starting in October next year.
congratulating the players on their selection, Charles Carlson, the president
of the Cook Islands Rugby League, said they were also in the national team list
for the World Cup.
to see these players being considered for the Kiwi World Cup squad in October
2022, but we are still a year away from making a decision. The final squad will
come down to their performance during the 2022 season, not on past years
performances,” Carlson said.
players undoubtedly stood out during the season and were unfortunate, with Manu
and Klolstad suffering some severe injuries. Marata was the surprise choice at
centres for Parramatta, having played his career as a second-rower but had an
exceptional season. Rapana switching to the fullback for the Raiders, replacing
the injured Klolstad, also had an awe-inspiring season.
players are also on our list, so their choice who they represent at the World
said they were pleased to see a number of the young players making their debut
this year in the NRL.
is hoping these players get themselves established in the competition for 2022.
always struggled with the small pool of players playing at the highest level of
competition but that number is slowly growing and the future is looking good.”
one of the challenges the Cook Islands Rugby League faces is player
issue we have is, does the player meet the eligibility criteria to play for the
Cooks. Players can say they have Cook Islands descents, but how far do you go
back in their genealogy?
eligibility rule is clear, your parent/s or grandparent/s must be born in the
Cook Islands, so many players don’t qualify because of this very restricted
definition. We have argued the eligibility rule and will continue to debate
NRL premiership-winning Penrith Panthers player and top prop James
Fisher-Harris headlines the Kiwis’ Rugby League World Cup wider squad announced
on Wednesday – a year out from the rescheduled showpiece event.
38-man squad will work towards a June Pacific Test and Trans-Tasman clash,
before the October 2022 World Cup campaign.
NRL’s Backrower of the Year and Eels’ golden buy, Isaiah Papali’i makes the cut
alongside fellow Parramatta playmakers Dylan Brown and Marata Niukore.
Storm’s Brandon Smith is also named in the squad.
Kiwi Storm talent included Reimis Smith who locked in his selection with 14
tries this year and standout half Jahrome Hughes, who was instrumental in a
well-oiled Melbourne side that ran rampant throughout 2021.
Rooster’s centre Joey Manu is included after one of his best seasons in the NRL
which included 12 line breaks, 10 tries and 141 metres per game.
is joined by veteran Kiwi prop and Roosters teammate Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
who made 1280 post-contact metres in 23 appearances for 2021.
Harawira-Naera returns after a dominant performance in his first full season at
Canberra, and departing Shark Shaun Johnson is joined by Cronulla teammates
Ronaldo Mulitalo, Braden Hamlin-Uele and Briton Nikora.
include Bronco’s back-rower and former Junior Kiwis captain Jordan Riki, who
enters the squad after a solid debut season.
Hooker and former Manurewa Marlin Erin Clark gets the call up alongside dynamic
youngster Josh Schuster and Waikato born Morgan Harper after a breakthrough
seasons with Manly.
The World Cup was originally scheduled to take place this month in England, before New Zealand and Australia expressed safety concerns in the Covid-19 environment and withdrew from the tournament.