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Esan Marsters named in New Zealand squad

Wests Tigers centre Esan Marsters will cap off a superb 2018 as part of the New Zealand squad for their end-of-season Tests against Australia and England.

Marsters has been named in the extended squad by Coach Michael Maguire after producing a superb individual season that included his debut for the Kiwis against England in the Denver Test.

The 22-year-old will join the Kiwis for their clash against the Kangaroos at Mount Smart Stadium on October 13 before embarking to England for a three-Test series against England that begins on October 27.

New Zealand have been boosted for the four matches by the inclusion of Adam Blair, Shaun Johnson, Gerard Beale, Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Jordan Rapana and Kevin Proctor — all of whom missed the one-off international against England earlier this year — while also welcoming Brandon Smith and Joseph Manu in to the squad, who both featured last weekend in the 2018 NRL Grand Final.

Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Slade Griffin, Herman Ese'ese, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Zane Tetevano have all been ruled out of contention for the squad as they recover from their respective injuries.

 
 
 
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Maguire said the four Tests presented an exciting opportunity for a new-look New Zealand squad.

"This is a new era for the Kiwis and that's again reflected in the make-up of this squad as it was for the Denver Test," Maguire said.

"A lot of experienced players have moved on in recent years in the shape of Simon Mannering, Thomas Leuluai, Manu Vatuvei, Jason Nightingale, Ben Matulino, Kieran Foran, Russell Packer and others.

"We're also without Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Issac Luke, Tohu Harris and Nelson Asofa-Solomona this time while there have been a number of players who have aligned themselves with Tonga.

"For us it's really exciting bringing in these new players as we strive to take the national side to the place we want it to be. That starts with the Test against the Kangaroos.

"It's a huge opportunity for us and for the sporting public having the world champions in our own back yard. We also have the Kiwi Ferns and the Junior Kiwis taking no Australia at Mount Smart Stadium."

The New Zealand Kiwis assemble in Auckland this weekend to prepare for the Bill Kelly Cup international. It's the Kiwis' first Test against the Kangaroos on New Zealand soil since winning the 2014 Four Nations final in Wellington and the first time since 2012 that the countries have met in Auckland.

The last time New Zealand and Australia met at Mount Smart Stadium was in the 2006 Tri Nations.

Marsters proud of first full season

NEW ZEALAND SQUAD

Leeson Ah Mau (St. George-Illawarra Dragons), Gerard Beale (New Zealand Warriors), Adam Blair (New Zealand Warriors), Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Kenneath Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), James Fisher-Harris (Penrith Panthers), Corey Harawira-Naera (Penrith Panthers), Jahrome Hughes (Melbourne Storm), Jamayne Isaako (Brisbane Broncos), Shaun Johnson (New Zealand Warriors), Issac Liu (Sydney Roosters), Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters), Esan Marsters (Wests Tigers), Ken Maumalo (New Zealand Warriors), Kodi Nikorima (Brisbane Broncos), Isaiah Papali'i (New Zealand Warriors), Kevin Proctor (Gold Coast Titans), Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders), Brandon Smith (Melbourne Storm), Joseph Tapine (Canberra Raiders), Martin Tapau (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers) — Coach: Michael Maguire