Tony Iro has today named the Cook Islands Kukis squad which will face Toa Samoa next Saturday at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in Sydney.
The squad looks vastly different than the team which qualified for the Rugby League World Cup back in 2019.
“Of the seventeen men who last took the field for the Cook Islands against the USA, only seven are back for this match,” Iro said.
“We have a promising young squad who will relish the opportunity at this level and to have Tinirau’s experience will definitely help. He’s been playing well at Wakefield and hasn’t been home in four years so I’m sure he’ll have a great week.”
Former Warriors centre Anthony Gelling and ex-Panthers and Tigers back Geoff Daniela are other familiar faces in the Cook Islands squad.
“It’s been a long two-and-a-half years since we last played and I know everyone in rugby league is looking forward to representative football again,” Iro said.
“The key focus is to firstly get the boys to enjoy and embrace the opportunity to play for the Cook Islands.
“Every nation has its own unique identity, and we are no different. Preparation for these games is way different to club land and I know the players will enjoy the week.”
Cook Islands squad
Tinirau Arona (Wakefield)
Geoff Daniela (St Marys)
Anthony Gelling (NZ)
Kayal Iro (Newtown Jets)
Andre Iro (Southport)
Reece Joyce (NZ)
Makahesi Makatoa (Parramatta Eels)
Steven Marsters (Thirroul Butchers)
Esan Marsters (Gold Coast Titans)
Davvy Moale (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Malachi Morgan (Southport)
Moses Noovao-McGreal (Norths Devils)
Pride Pettersen-Robati (Warriors)
Brendan Piakura (Brisbane Broncos)
Reuben Porter (Tweed Heads)
Reuben Rennie (Newtown Jets)
Vincent Rennie (Newtown Jets)
Brodie Tamarua (NZ)
Aaron Teroi (Central Queensland Capras)
Xavier Willison (Brisbane Broncos)