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Dallin Watene-Zelezniak hoping for third time lucky after New Zealand call-up

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Issac Luke has been left out of New Zealand's squad

Image credit: PA Sport

ByPA Sport
01/05/2016 at 18:16 | Updated 01/05/2016 at 18:23

Penrith winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will be hoping it is third time lucky after being named in the New Zealand squad for Friday's Test match against Australia in Newcastle.

Penrith winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will be hoping it is third time lucky after being named in the New Zealand squad for Friday's Test match against Australia in Newcastle.

The great grandson of New Zealand rugby league legend Steve Watene has been in the Kiwis camp twice before, only to be denied his big chance by injury, in the 2014 Four Nations Series, and suspension, in the 2015 Anzac Test.

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He also missed last year's tour to England with a collapsed lung but has been named in an 18-man squad by coach Stephen Kearney.

"When I texted Dallin to tell him, he was really, really excited," said Kearney. "We'll keep him away from the beach. In 2014, we took him down to the beach for a recovery and he ended up rolling his ankle and breaking a bone in his foot.

"He's one of those kids that has always been on the cusp of making it, now he finally gets that opportunity and I'm sure he'll do a wonderful job for us."

Watene-Zelezniak, 20, and Parramatta forward Manu Ma'u are the only newcomers to a team aiming to defend their world number one ranking with a fourth consecutive win against the Kangaroos.

With regular captain Simon Mannering sidelined by injury, Melbourne prop Jesse Bromwich will lead the side for the first time on his 18th appearance.

There is no place for out-of-form hooker Issac Luke, who jointly captained the team in their series defeat to England, while full-back Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and scrum-half Kieran Foran are injured and, although named, second rower Alex Glenn is said to have sustained a calf injury in Brisbane's defeat by Cronulla on Sunday.

Jason Taumalolo, Shaun Johnson and Greg Eastwood are back after missing the tour to England.

"I'm super happy with who we have and the one thing we've built over the last two years is, regardless who we have in the jumper, we have a responsibility and duty to go out there and perform," said Kearney.

"If we make close to our best performance to the contest on Friday, then I'm super confident we give ourselves a great opportunity."

Squad: A Blair (Brisbane), J Bromwich (Melbourne, capt), L Brown (Manly), G Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs), A Glenn (Brisbane), T Harris (Melbourne), P Hiku (Penrith), S Johnson (NZ Warriors), J Kahu (Brisbane), S Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), M Ma'u (Parramatta), S Moa (Sydney Roosters), J Nightingale (St George Illawarra), K Nikorima (Brisbane), K Proctor (Melbourne), J Taumalolo (North Queensland), M Taupau (Manly), D Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith), D Levi (Newcastle, 19th man).

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