Cook Islands Rugby League Association yesterday released a 54-member preliminary squad for the opening training session on Monday at Victoria Park, starting at 5pm.
CIRLA competition coordinator Taua Benioni said coaches Bobby Hansen and Darren Piri will have their hands full considering the numbers of players named in the squad.
“As an introduction to the series, players will be briefed on what is to come before and after leading up to the Pacific Games in mid-June, 2019,” said Benioni.
“It may seem a long time but really it is no more than 11 months away as there’s plenty of rugby and rugby league to be played in between.
“Both coaches understand the commitment players have with their clubs during the rugby, soccer and other sporting codes, thus the reason for the Monday training.
“The sooner they know what they have as in commitment, then the better to work out the time for preparation.”
Benioni said the Cook Islands Rugby League Association expected full commitment from all players, coaches, team management, club executives and the association.
“When it comes to being named to represent our country, it may not be at the international professional level but we can be as professional as we can,” he said.
“Congratulation to all players named as per your various club, but as we suggest, the door is open on training night so feel free to come along.”