Watene-Zelezniak in danger of second debut delay

Watene-Zelezniak in danger of second debut delay

Teenage winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has seen a potential New Zealand debut cast into doubt courtesy of an NRL charge.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak could be denied a New Zealand debut for the second time in six months after being charged by the NRL's match review committee for a dangerous throw.

The 19-year-old winger, one of the rising stars of rugby league, was set to face Australia in the opening game of last year's Four Nations, only to fracture a foot in a freak accident at the beach in the build-up to the game.

Watene-Zelezniak went on to miss the entire tournament, but was recalled by New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney for Friday's Anzac Test with Australia.

However, he may again miss out on a first international cap, after the NRL opted to act against a throw on Wade Graham in Penrith Panthers' victory over Cronulla Sharks on Sunday.

Watene-Zelezniak will be handed a one-match suspension, ruling him out of the Anzac Test, if he accepts an early guilty plea or unsuccessfully challenges the grade-one charge.

Australia's Billy Slater, meanwhile, has said he is prepared to make an early call on whether he is fit enough to face New Zealand.

Slater was named in Australia's squad despite an injury to his left shoulder keeping him out of action in recent weeks.

The Melbourne Storm full-back said on Monday: "I'm not going to go out there if I'm not comfortable doing what I normally do. I won't put the team in that position, but if I feel if it's right I'll be there.

"I'll train as normal [on Tuesday] and do some contact stuff at the end - running the footy, tackling, and all that sort of stuff and if I get through that and I'm feeling comfortable then I'll put my hand up to play. If not I'll let them know.

"I feel quite good now but I'm not playing football right now so I've got to feel comfortable when I'm in that contact situation. Until I do that I can't give you a definite answer."

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