Eastwood returns for Kiwis in Dunedin showdown

Former Leeds Rhinos player Greg Eastwood.Former Leeds Rhinos player Greg Eastwood.
Former Leeds Rhinos player Greg Eastwood.
Former Leeds Rhinos forward Greg Eastwood has been recalled to New Zealand’s squad for Saturday’s crucial Four Nations showdown with England in Dunedin.

Eastwood, who made a Challenge Cup final appearance during his only season with Leeds in 2010, has been named among the Kiwis’ substitutes, alongside another ex-Super League player, former London and Wigan half-back or hooker Thomas Leuluai.

The experienced pair both played in New Zealand’s opening win over Australia before making way for Issac Luke and Suaia Matagi for last Saturday’s narrow victory against Samoa.

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Eastwood played in Australia for Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury Bulldogs before joining Leeds, where his team-mates included England duo Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall.

But he failed to settle in England, despite playing 22 times for Rhinos and returned to the NRL with Canterbury in 2011.

Luke keeps his spot at hooker, with Leuluai taking over the back-up role from Lewis Brown, who becomes 18th man.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ Pita Godinet has been promoted to Samoa’s starting line-up for the final round-robin game against Australia in Wollongong on Sunday.

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Godinet was a substitute in the narrow defeats by England – when he scored two tries – and New Zealand, but will start at hooker against the world champions.

Ben Roberts, who will join Castleford Tigers from Melbourne Storm next season, continues at stand-off for Samoa.

Reni Maitua has completed a suspension and could be among the Samoan substitutes.

Australia coach Tim Sheens has switched Sam Thaiday from prop to his normal slot in the second-row to plug the gap created by an injury to Beau Scott, with Josh Papalii given the No 10 shirt after starting on the bench against England last weekend.

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Thaiday was used as a makeshift prop for the Kangaroos’ first two matches after regular front-rowers Matt Scott, James Tamou and Paul Gallen were ruled out through injury or suspension.

Penrith’s uncapped full-back Matt Moylan is included in a 20-man squad.