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Watene-Zelezniak to captain Kiwis against Australia

Penrith Panthers fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is a shock selection as captain of the New Zealand team that will take on Australia in Auckland on Saturday.

Despite the presence of more senior players including Shaun Johnson, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Jesse Bromwich in the Kiwis team, Watene-Zelezniak will lead the team out for the first time.

The New Zealand side announced on Tuesday also includes two debutants - premiership-winning Roosters centre Joseph Manu and Storm hooker Brandon Smith.

"It's a massive honour. I was pretty shocked and speechless when I was told," Watene-Zelezniak told

"It's surreal for me but I think it's bigger for my family and the history that we have with the Kiwis."

DWZ ready to step up as Kiwis captain

Kiwis team: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (c), 2. Ken Maumalo, 3. Esan Marsters, 4. Joseph Manu, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Shaun Johnson, 7. Kodi Nikorima, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Brandon Smith, 10. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Isaac Liu, 13. James Fisher-Harris
Interchange: 14. Kenny Bromwich, 15. Leeson Ah Mau, 16. Martin Taupau, 17. Adam Blair, 18 Peta Hiku, 19. Jahrome Hughes 

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.