Boom youngster Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is expected to be ruled out of the Four Nations with a broken foot despite being named in the Kiwi team.
Instead of making his Test debut for New Zealand this weekend, rookie winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is expected to be ruled out of the entire Four Nations tournament with a broken foot.
Hours after the Penrith flyer was named in the starting side for the Kiwis’ Four Nations opener against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday night, it emerged the 19-year-old would be sidelined for six weeks with a foot fracture.
Watene-Zelezniak suffered what seemed to be an innocuous foot complaint on the beach on the Gold Coast on Sunday.
However, the seriousness of his injury came to light when the boom youngster watched the Kiwis’ Tuesday training session wearing a moon boot.
He was still named in the New Zealand starting team, along with fellow rookie Jason Taumalolo at lock, for this weekend’s clash with Australia, albeit “subject to a fitness test”.
“Dallin is an exciting young prospect who we think will play many Tests for the Kiwis in the future,” Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney said.
Manu Vatuvei or Sosaia Feki are on standby to slot into the wing vacancy for New Zealand.
North Queensland forward Taumalolo finally gets his chance to take the field for the Kiwis, after filling a non-playing role in the 2012 Anzac Test.
New Zealand Warriors powerhouse prop Suaia Matagi will also debut if he forces his way into the team from 18th man.
“His performances over the past year, but particularly over the last two months of the NRL, have been very consistent,” Kearney said of Taumalolo.
“Jason’s always been there or thereabouts.
“He had an opportunity to get picked for the Anzac Test before he injured a shoulder and he’s also been a Junior Kiwi.”