Marsters set for Kiwis debut

Monday June 18, 2018 Written by Published in League
Cook Islander Esan Marsters has been named in the New Zealand Kiwis team for the match against England on June 23. Cook Islander Esan Marsters has been named in the New Zealand Kiwis team for the match against England on June 23.

Cook Islander Esan Marsters is set to make his debut for the Kiwis after being included in the New Zealand side for the Test match against England on June 23 in Denver.

 

Marsters, who played two matches for the Cook Islands rugby league team, is one of the seven new faces in the Kiwis outfit.

The 21-year-old West Tigers centre is set to make his Kiwis debut alongside other newcomers Ken Maumalo (Warriors), Jamayne Isaako (Broncos), Leeson Ah Mau (Dragons), Herman Ese'ese (Knights), Slade Griffin (Knights) and Raymond Faitala-Mariner (Bulldogs).

The Auckland-born Marsters made his Cook Islands debut in their 2015 match against Tonga.

In 2016, he represented the Junior Kiwis in a match against the Junior Kangaroos and a year later, he represented the Cook Islands again in their 2017 Pacific Rugby League Tests match.

Marsters, who is enjoying a great NRL season with the Tigers, has credited a private pep talk with childhood idol-turned-teammate Benji Marshall for the club performance which has propelled him into a New Zealand Test debut.

"I still pinch myself playing outside Benji and he's been massive for us around the club," Marsters told NRL.com.

"He's really helped me with my game, especially this weekend. He spoke to me before the game, he wanted me to get into the game early and go looking for the ball, get myself really involved.

"I hadn't been doing that the past couple of weeks and Benji pushed me to get back into it. I think I had a career high - something like 21 carries, which is massive for me at NRL level."

Marsters said he wanted to play good footy and represent his family well in the game.

“That is important to your heritage, it's not only representing your country for yourself but your family as well,” he said.

“That's what we're about here, family is really important and that's what Ivan has installed here at the Tigers.”

Fellow Cook Islander Jordan Rapana missed the cut after copping an injury in the earlier round of the NRL competition.

Kiwis coach Michael Maguire has also confirmed Warriors trio Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Tohu Harris were unavailable due to fitness and personal reasons respectively.

“With Shaun it was basically a club decision from the understanding of where he's come from with his injuries,” Maguire told Stuff.co.nz.

“With the other two boys (Tuivasa-Sheck and Harris) they're more personal reasons which between the players and myself were shared. I'm comfortable with where we're at.”

Kiwis squad to face England: Leeson Ah Mau (Dragons), Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Storm), Herman Ese'ese (Knights), Raymond Faitala-Mariner (Bulldogs), James Fisher-Harris (Panthers), Slade Griffin (Knights), Peta Hiku (Warriors), Jamayne Isaako (Broncos), Jordan Kahu (Broncos), Isaac Liu (Roosters), Issac Luke (Warriors), Te Maire Martin (Cowboys), Esan Marsters (Tigers), Ken Maumalo (Warriors), Kodi Nikorima (Broncos), Joseph Tapine (Raiders), Martin Taupau (Sea Eagles), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Panthers).

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