Former Kiwis captain Benji Marshall's hopes of making an international comeback have been dashed with New Zealand test selector Tawera Nikau confirming the Broncos utility won't be considered for the upcoming World Cup.
Marshall has been a strong performer for Brisbane in recent weeks but the 32-year-old has been relegated to the interchange bench ahead of tomorrow night's NRL grand final qualifier against Melbourne at AAMI Park, with Kiwis test rookie Kodi Nikorima preferred in the Broncos No7 jersey.
Marshall last week expressed his desire to pull on the black jersey once again but Nikau ruled any chance of a comeback out, reiterating the point that the Kiwis had moved on since he last played for New Zealand in 2012.
"Benji's been one of those players that's been outstanding and contributed to the game immensely over the years, but if you read between the lines with the process that we've done over the last couple of years with the likes of Shaun Johnson, Kieran Foran, Te Maire Martin and Kodi Nikorima - those are the players that we're focusing on for the future," Nikau told the Herald.
"An article even came out during the week in Australia with Benji saying 'pick Kodi before me' with the Broncos.
"So when you think about those things, are we putting someone in there that's just going to do that or are we putting someone in there that's going to have input in the future."
The Kiwis' first choice halves pairing of Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran are expected to be fully fit for the Kiwis campaign, after both players missed the Warriors last round defeat to Wests Tigers with knee and back injuries respectively.
Foran is back in Sydney ahead of his move to the Bulldogs next season, spending time with his two children and family while recovering after a frustrating season with the Warriors.
"(Kiwis coach) David's (Kidwell) spoken to them both over the last couple of weeks and the general consensus is they'll be raring to go," said Nikau.
"For players that have had a couple of weeks off and a good break away from the game and spent time with their families, there's nothing better than coming into a Kiwis camp with all of your mates and looking forward to having a really good campaign."
The Kiwis face Samoa in their World Cup opener at Mt Smart Stadium on October 28.