Nathan Cayless believes the Kiwis are on track for World Cup success - and co-hosting the event next year could be the catalyst for ultimate glory.
Cayless was skipper in 2008 when the Kiwis achieved their only previous victory in the global tournament, leading the team to their memorable 34-20 win in Brisbane.
New Zealand's defence of that crown didn't go to plan in 2013, as they were hammered by Australia in a forgettable final at Old Trafford.
But Cayless has been impressed with the progress since then, which has included three victories over the Kangaroos in their last five encounters.
"The team is building nicely for the World Cup," said Cayless, who was in Auckland today to mark one year to go before the kickoff of the tournament, which will see 28 games played across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
"They are in a good space," said Cayless. "They have some many good young players, plenty of experience and the confidence from a few good wins. It won't be easy at all but having games at home is a big boost...it could be the difference."
Assuming they reach the last four, the Kiwis will play five games in New Zealand at the World Cup, with pool matches in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch before a probable quarter final in Wellington and a semi-final in Auckland.
It's an unprecedented number of local games for the Kiwis, who have only played four tests in this country since 2012.
"As a player it's massive," said Cayless. "It a real lift and everybody wants to play at home, especially in such a big event."
Injured Broncos utility Kodi Nikorima echoed the sentiments of Cayless. Nikorima, who has played four tests for the Kiwis since making his debut on last year's tour of England, imagines the tournament will create a huge buzz.
"I remember watching the  final in the lounge with my parents," said Nikorima. "It was pretty exciting and big for the sport in this country. I was only 14 at the time but it was pretty inspiring. I can't imagine what it would be like to play World Cup games here."
Nikorima will be an interested observer of the Four Nations over the next few weeks, hopeful for the Kiwis but wary of Wayne Bennett's influence on England.
"[The Kiwis] have got a lot of class players and they have shown what they can do," said Nikorima. "It's a hard place to tour but there is plenty of belief in this team now. But Wayne will be good for England; he's a great coach, he has an aura about him and makes you want to play for him."
Tickets for the 2017 World Cup, where 14 nations will contest the Paul Barriere trophy, went on general sale on Thursday morning. Tickets for the pool games in New Zealand, where the Kiwis will play Samoa (October 28, Auckland), Scotland (November 4, Christchurch) and Tonga (November 11, Hamilton), start from $20, with the cheapest family tickets priced at $45.
Single admission for the semi-final at Mt Smart - which could see the Kiwis face England if games go to form - is available from $40, with family pricing from $120.