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Football feast for League fans this weekend

Rugby league fans are in for a second - even bigger - feast of football this weekend.
Football feast for League fans this weekend
by NRL

Rugby league fans are in for a second - even bigger - feast of football this weekend.

In a precursor to the 2010 Four Nations last Saturday night, Mount Smart Stadium had a festival feel about it as the Kiwis beat Toa Samoa 50-6 in the first-ever Test between the two nations and England drew 18-18 with the New Zealand Maori in the early game.

But this weekend there'll be double the action as Westpac Stadium in Wellington and Parramatta Stadium in Sydney play host to four international matches between them.

Tonight (Saturday) the Four Nations is kick-started by the Kiwis and England in Wellington in a match which also doubles as a Centenary Test for the New Zealand Rugby League. The year marks the 100th anniversary for both the national body and the first Test played on New Zealand soil, the NZRL being formed on April 25, 1910 while the Kiwis made their home debut against the touring Great Britain side at the Domain Cricket Ground in Auckland on July 30, 1910. Both teams will wear replica strips tonight.

In the appetiser to the Four Nations opener, some of the game's hottest prospects will be on show when the Junior Kiwis and the Junior Kangaroos go head-to-head. Then tomorrow (Sunday) at Parramatta Stadium there'll be two Tests with the Kangaroos facing Papua New Guinea's Kumuls in the second Four Nations encounter preceded by a contest between Pacific rivals Toa Samoa and Tonga.

The Vodafone Warriors boast a total of 16 players involved on both days with two of them - Sione Lousi and younger brother Sam - playing for different countries, Sione for Tonga and Sam for the Junior Kiwis.

Lance Hohaia, Manu Vatuvei, Simon Mannering and Ben Matulino will all be playing for the Kiwis, North Queensland-bound centre Brent Tate is in Australia's line-up, Sione Lousi and Ukuma Ta'ai are both playing for Tonga and nine NYC players have been named to play for the Junior Kiwis (Glen Fisiiahi, Bill Tupou, Siuatonga Likiliki, Carlos Tuimavave, Shaun Johnson, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Nafe Seluini, Sam Lousi and Mark Ioane). Warriors in waiting Feleti Mateo (Tonga) and Pita Godinet (Samoa) are also playing.

A feature of the weekend's matches is the appointment of New Zealanders refereeing two of the matches. Shane Rehm, named New Zealand's Referee of the Year on Thursday night, will control the Australia-Papua New Guinea clash while former Kiwi Henry Perenara has the junior international.

The weekend's matches and teams are:


Westpac Stadium, Wellington (8.00pm)
Referee: Tony Archer (Australia)

NEW ZEALAND: Lance Hohaia; Jason Nightingale, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Junior Sa'u, Manu Vatuvei; Benji Marshall (c), Nathan Fien; Greg Eastwood, Thomas Leuluai, Adam Blair; Simon Mannering, Bronson Harrison; Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Issac Luke, Ben Matulino, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Frank Pritchard, Sika Manu, Sam Perrett.
Coach: Stephen Kearney.
ENGLAND: Gareth Widdop; Darrell Goulding, Michael Shenton, Ryan Atkins, Tom Briscoe; Kevin Brown, Sam Tomkins; James Graham (c), James Roby, Stuart Fielden; Gareth Ellis, Sam Burgess; Sean O'Loughlin. Interchange: Luke Robinson, Darrell Griffin, Joel Tomkins, Ben Westwood.
Coach: Steve McNamara.

Westpac Stadium, Wellington (5.45pm)
Referee: Henry Perenara (New Zealand)

JUNIOR KIWIS: Glen Fisiiahi; Bill Tupou, Siuatonga Likiliki, Dean Whare, Drury Low; Carlos Tuimavave, Shaun Johnson; Lama Tasi, Matthew McIlwrick, Martin Taupau (c); Jason Taumalolo, Sam Mataora; Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Nafe Seluini, Sam Lousi, Mark Ioane, Isaac Maliota, Paki Afu, Kane Morgan.
Coach: David Kidwell.
JUNIOR KANGAROOS: Dane Gagai; Michael Oldfield, Justin O'Neill, Ben Jones (c), Josh Mansour; Corey Norman, Sam Williams; James Cunningham, Cameron King, Evrett Vaurasi; Mark Nicholls, Josh Jackson; Gerard Beale. Interchange: Matthew Wright, Tariq Sims, Mark Appleton, Kyle O'Donnell, Nathan Massey, Dominic Walsh.
Coach: David Hamilton.


Parramatta Stadium, Sydney (4.00pm AEST)
Referee: Shane Rehm (New Zealand)

AUSTRALIA: Billy Slater; Brett Morris, Brent Tate, Willie Tonga, Lote Tuqiri; Darren Lockyer (c), Cooper Cronk; Nate Myles, Cameron Smith, Petero Civoniceva; Luke Lewis, Sam Thaiday; Paul Gallen. Interchange: David Shillington, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Anthony Watmough, Kurt Gidley, Darius Boyd, Matt Scott.
Coach: Tim Sheens.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Ryan Tongia; Michael Mark, Jessy Joe Parker, Emmanuel Yere, Elijah Riyong; Glen Nami, Dion Aiye; Makali Aizue, Benjamin John, George Moni; Rodney Griffin, David Loko; Paul Aiton (c). Interchange: Charlie Wabo, Nickson Kolo, Johnson Kuike, Larsen Marabe, Pidi Tongap, Alex Haija, Richard Kambo.
Coach: Stanley Gene.

Parramatta Stadium, Sydney (1.00pm AEST)
Referee: Richard Silverwood (England)

TOA SAMOA: Quentin Laulu-Togagae ; Francis Meli, Frank Winterstein, George Carmont, Tanielu Pasene; Ben Roberts, Pita Godinet; Tony Puletua (c), Masada Iosefa, Mark Taufua ; Harrison Hansen, David Solomona, Joseph Paulo. Interchange: Joshua McGuire, Ali Lauitiiti, Terence Seuseu, Constantine Mika, Willie Isa.
Coach: Steve Price.
TONGA: Etu Uaisele; Fetongi Tuinauvai, Sione Lousi, Sione Tongia, Atelea Okati; Feleti Mateo (c), Eddie Paea; Andrew Fifita, Tevita Latu, Epalahame Lauaki; Ukuma Ta'ai, Richie Fa'aoso; James Tutuila. Interchange: Mickey Paea, Sam Moa, Fokolulu Taumalolo, Siosaia Vave, Ronnie Alovilli, Alai Taufa'ao, Saia Taufalele.
Coach: Charlie Tonga.

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