Panthers star Dylan Edwards is one of four players reportedly set to make their Kangaroos debut in the upcoming Pacific Championships.
Edwards initially missed out on selection but was called into the squad by Australian coach Mal Meninga in place of Josh Addo-Carr, who was received a two-game ban for his involvement in a brawl at the Koori Knockout.
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Channel 9’s Danny Weidler reported on Monday afternoon that Edwards is expected to make his debut in a new-look backline.
Broncos duo Selwyn Cobbo and Kotoni Staggs, as well as exciting Dolphins back Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow will reportedly join him.
Edwards, who will debut on the wing, told 9 News he was about to head off on a holiday to Kingscliff when he got the call from the Kangaroos.
“I was packing as I got the phone call, so I cancelled all of that and am focused on this,”
“(Footy) is a job, it’s a dream.”
When asked if he had given up hope of representing his country, Edwards said: “Not really, I hadn’t thought too much about it.”
“I think playing in these sorts of sides are a by-product of success at clubland too,” he added.
“I’m fortunate to be in a really good side back there and thought if ever the day comes, it’ll come and I’ll try and take it with both hands.”
There’s a chance Edwards could be up against his Penrith teammate Brian To’o.
“He’ll probably try and run over me at some stage… I’m not sure (what the secret is to tackling To’o), just give it your all,” he said.
“He’s pretty slippery and a very hard man to tackle.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand coach Michael Maguire has revealed an ‘A’ squad made up of several NRL rookies will play in the Kiwis’ first game of the Pacific Championship against Toa Samoa on Saturday, October 21 at Eden Park.
Among those named are Kalani Going, Jack Howarth, Taine Tuaupiki and Will Warbrick, who all made their NRL debut in 2023.
“It’s really exciting for New Zealand Rugby League being able to bring so many players together at the same time,” Maguire said.
“The players brought into the New Zealand ‘A’ squad will all have the opportunity to be in camp with the Kiwis, to train alongside them and to show their potential as future Kiwi internationals.
“It’s really important for us to have an opportunity like this, not just for players striving to become Kiwis but also for coaches.”
The ‘A’ squad (listed below) will be coached for this game by former Kiwis captain and current coach of the Eels’ New South Wales Cup side, Nathan Cayless.
Rocco Berry (Warriors), Joe Chan (Storm), Zach Dockar-Clay (Roosters), Kalani Going (Warriors), Jack Howarth (Storm), Asu Kepaoa (Wests Tigers), Jacob Laban (Warriors), Ali Leiataua (Warriors), Trey Mooney (Raiders), Paul Roache (Warriors), Pasami Saulo (Raiders), Bailey Simonsson (Eels), Taine Tuaupiki (Warriors), Benjamin Te Kura (Broncos), William Warbrick (Storm).
Official team lists for week one of the tournament will be announced on Tuesday at 4pm AEDT.
WEEK ONE SCHEDULE
SATURDAY OCTOBER 14
Australian Kangaroos vs Toa Samoa, 8.10pm AEDT at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
SUNDAY OCTOBER 15
Papua New Guinea Kumuls vs Cook Islands Aitu, 4pm AEDT at Santos National Football Stadium, Port Moresby
Originally published as Panthers gun to finally make ‘dream’ Australian debut after ditching holiday plans