Six players, an assistant coach and a manager have been added to the Kiwi Ferns programme, as the national women’s team prepares to defend their Downer NRL Auckland Nines title in February.

Open trials earlier this month have produced a handful of additional candidates, including dual rugby/league international Charlotte Scanlan, and past nines exponents Chanel Huddleston and Alex Cook.

Huddleston was a member of the successful 2015 team, while Cook turned out for this year’s winners.

Bunty Kuruwaka-Crowe of Canterbury, Louisa Gago of Akarana and Makaia Riki-Te Kauna of Upper Central are also

The Kiwi Ferns will again face the Australian Jillarroos in a three-game series, competing on the same stage as the 16 NRL men’s teams. The two previous instalments have seen New Zealand emerge 2-1 winners.

Meanwhile, Dan Keepa of Counties Manukau will join the existing Ferns staff to assist head coach Alan Jackson, while Elizabeth Richards of Akarana takes up the manager’s role.

The wider Kiwi Ferns squad is:

Billy-Jean Ale Counties Manukau
Racqual Anderson Upper Central
Ngatokutoru Arakua Akarana
Tanika Jazz Bell Akarana
Alexandra Cook Akarana
Josephy Daniels Counties Manukau
Sarina Fiso Counties Manukau
Teuila Fotu-Moala Counties Manukau
Louisa Gago Counties Manukau
Georgia Hale Akarana
Stacey Hildreth Southern
Chanel Huddleston Mid Central
Amber Kani Counties Manukau
Bunty Kuruwaka-Crowe Southern
Nora Maaka Counties Manukau
Janaya Mata Southern
Lilieta Maumau Akarana
Kimiora Nati Counties Manukau
Lee-Arna Nepia Mid Central
Annetta-Claudia Nuuausala Akarana
Va’anessa Molia-Fraser Akarana
Kahurangi Peters Counties Manukau
Charntay Poko Southern
Yasmin Puru-Tongia Southern
Makaia Riki-Te Kauna Upper Central
Krystal Rota Counties Manukau
Charlotte Scanlan Akarana
Crystal Tamarua Akarana
Atawhai Tupaea Counties Manukau
Corrina Whiley Southern
Lani Williams Akarana
Kararaina Wira-Kohu Northland
Contessah Wright Akarana