Former NRL forward Zane Tetevano is set to make a shock return to the football field after he suffered a stroke during a training session.

Yet to play since that unfortunate incident in May, he has been selected to represent the Cook Islands in the Pacific Championships against Papua New Guinea on Sunday.

While Tetevano had surgery in June after suffering the stroke a month before, he was released by Super League club Leeds Rhinos. This allowed them to free up an international quota spot that was used to sign Canberra Raiders playmaker Matt Frawley.

Coming through the junior ranks at the Newcastle Knights, Tetevano would make his NRL debut for the side in 2011 against the Cronulla Sharks in Round 11. After four seasons and 29 games at the club, he was sacked due to disciplinary reasons.

After two years away from the game, he would work hard to get another shot at the NRL. Signing a contract with the Sydney Roosters in 2018, he would find most of his success here and would even manage to be a part of the 2018 NRL Grand Final team.

The following year, he was named to take part in the 2019 Grand Final but would be replaced by Jake Friend at the last minute. After a stint with the Roosters, he joined the Panthers in 2020, but his NRL career would come to an end that same year with 122 appearances to his name.

"I would like to thank everyone at the Rhinos for the support they have given me over the last three years," he said in a statement put forward by the club earlier this year.

"Especially I would like to thank all the staff at the Leeds General Infirmary who have looked after me so much since my stroke and heart operation.

"I will always remember my time in Leeds fondly, and I wish Rohan and the team all the best for the rest of this season and the years ahead."

Cook Islands Kukis Squad

Tevin Arona, Rhys Dakin, Esom Ioka, Kadiyae Ioka, Kayal Iro, Makahesi Makatoa, Justin Estall-Makirere, Steven Marsters, Esan Marsters, Alvin Maungaati, Davvy Moale, Takai Mokohar, Malachi Morgan, Rua Ngatikaura, Pride Pettersen-Robati, Lucky Pokipoki, Reuben Porter, William Samuel, Brad Takairangi, Zane Tetevano, Isaiah Cooper-Tetevano.