Tim Sheens says Brent Tate's experience, versatility and Queensland connection won the veteran centre a shock Test recall for Saturday's World Cup semi final ahead of Josh Morris and Michael Jennings.
Sheens last night named a 19-man squad for the knockout game against Fiji but confirmed Tate would start at left centre with Greg Inglis moving to fullback to cover for the injured Billy Slater.
Both Morris and Jennings are specialist left centres for their respective NRL clubs and one of them was expected to come into the team ahead of Tate who hasn't put a foot wrong all tournament but plays most of his footy on the right edge.
But asked why he went for Tate ahead of Morris and Jennings, Sheens said: "I think his seniority, his experience and his versatility. If we have an issue around the backline he can change position."
Sheens added Tate's experience playing State of Origin with Darius Boyd and Johnathan Thurston was another factor.
"He has played with Darius and JT and there is a bit of a connection there as well," Sheens explained.
"It is one of those things where experience and what I think is a mix where they have played with a mate next to them.
"In a tour you've got to very quickly form a relationship and the fact that they have played together helps."
Tate admitted he thought his tournament was over after being dropped for last week's game against the United States but the injury to Slater has now given him the chance for a fairytale finish on what he concedes will be his last Kangaroo tour to the United Kingdom.
"It's just nice to be back there," the 31-year-old said.
"This will be the last time I will be over here so as many games as I play, they are all last games for me over here as well."
The recall caps off an amazing comeback for Tate who suffered a career-threatening knee injury in the 2010 Four Nations final and Tate also missed the 2008 World Cup decider because of injury.
"That has been playing on my mind a fair bit because I did miss that final in 2008," he said.
"It is a huge game.
"At the end of the day when you are looking back on your career I mean all the things (like this) you look back with a smile on your face.
"I would be lying to you if I said that hasn't been playing on my mind a fair bit.
"I guess now at least I have a bit of a chance (to play in next week's final). It is in my control."
Australia's 19-man squad is:
Cameron Smith (c), Paul Gallen (vc), Greg Bird, Darius Boyd, Daly Cerry-Evans, Cooper Cronk, Robbie Farah, Andrew Fifita, Jarryd Hayne, Greg Inglis, Brett Morris Nate Myles, Josh Papalii, Corey Parker, Matthew Scott, James Tamou, Brent Tate, Shan Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston.