Sydney Roosters duo Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves have withdrawn from the Kiwis’ Four Nations team citing end-of-season fatigue.
End-of-season fatigue has taken its toll on the Kiwis’ Four Nations rugby league squad with the late withdrawals of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
The Sydney Roosters duo have been omitted from coach Stephen Kearney’s 24-man squad named in Wellington on Tuesday.
Kearney said feedback from both players and their club had centred around exhaustion at the end of a challenging season, and the New Zealand selectors had looked at the bigger picture in leaving the pair out.
Waerea-Hargreaves and Tuivasa-Sheck played in all but one of the Roosters’ 27 NRL matches this season.
Tuivasa-Sheck in particular had backed up in two demanding seasons, separated by last year’s World Cup, is looking at moving into a new position next year at fullback.
“You could see the effect it was taking on him by the back end of the season,” Kearney said.
“If Roger’s in healthy shape next year, in good shape for his club, then obviously he’s going to be in good shape for the Kiwis too.”
Meanwhile, Australian coach Tim Sheens, in Wellington as part of preparations for the Four Nations final at Westpac Stadium on November 15, said injury had also taken its toll on the Kangaroos.
“I think about 80 per cent of the guys that have dropped out with us have been forced out with shoulder surgery,” he said.
“Every one of them has been disappointed at having to pull out – they don’t like giving up their Australian jumper.
“I don’t think in six years I’ve had anyone say to me ‘I’m too tired to play for Australia’. Most of them have been really, really upset about it.”
Four new faces, including 19-year-old Penrith winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, have made Kearney’s cut for the Four Nations tournament involving Australia, England and Samoa.
The other uncapped players are North Queensland second rower Jason Taumalolo, 21, Cronulla utility Sosaia Feki, 23, and Warriors prop Suaia Matagi, 26.
Penrith utility Lewis Brown returns to the squad for the first time since 2011.
Three other players named in the New Zealand train-on squad also weren’t considered because of injury – Warriors pair Konrad Hurrell and Ben Matulino and Panthers prop Sam McKendry.
The Kiwis open their campaign against Australia in Brisbane on October 25.
Kiwis squad: Gerard Beale, Adam Blair, Jesse Bromwich, Lewis Brown, Greg Eastwood, Sosaia Feki, Kieran Foran, Tohu Harris, Siliva Havili, Peta Hiku, Shaun Johnson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Thomas Leuluai, Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Suaia Matagi, Sam Moa, Jason Nightingale, Kevin Proctor, Jason Taumalolo, Martin Taupau, Manu Vatuvei, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare.