Northland rugby league forward Adam Blair has been justifying his selection in the Kiwis Anzac test squad with strong outings in the NRL, coach Stephen Kearney says.
Blair is joined in the squad, announced on Sunday evening, by six rookies and Tohu Harris, who returns six months after he was sensationally axed from the Kiwis World Cup squad.
The Northland league legend was noted by Kearney before naming the squad for Friday's test with another barnstorming display for the Wests Tigers in their 21-18 victory a week ago.
In that match, Blair made 145 running metres and 30 tackles.
Since switching from the Melbourne Storm, Blair has struggled to meet the expectations of Wests Tigers fans, but has now become a key element in the club's surprise 5-3 start to the season.
Kearney said of Blair: "He was again outstanding and it's no coincidence that the senior guys in that team, like Blairy, have been playing great.
"I think it always takes a while to get used to a new environment and the timing of him arriving at Wests wasn't good either.
"He has had to deal with a change of coaching and different styles, but things have become more settled for him now.
"He is part of a young, hungry team and is able to focus on the things he does well."
For the returning Harris, he is far from the only new face to tackle Australia at Allianz Stadium, with Kearney naming six newcomers in the 18-man squad. Fullback Peta Hiku, five-eighths Isaac John, utility Ben Henry, hooker Siliva Havili and props Martin Taupau and Kenny Bromwich will join the national team for the first time.
Bromwich has been included alongside elder brother Jesse, making the pair the first set of siblings to suit up together for the Kiwis since Henry and Robbie Paul in 2001.
The callow look to the squad means there is room for only six survivors from the side that lost to the Kangaroos in last year's World Cup final - captain Simon Mannering, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dean Whare, Shaun Johnson, Sam Moa and Jesse Bromwich.
Kiwis squad: Gerard Beale (St George-Illawarra Dragons), Adam Blair (Wests Tigers), Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Kenneth Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Greg Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs), Tohu Harris (Melbourne Storm), Siliva Havili (NZ Warriors), Ben Henry (NZ Warriors), Peta Hiku (Manly Sea Eagles), Isaac John (Penrith Panthers), Shaun Johnson (NZ Warriors), Simon Mannering (NZ Warriors), Sam Moa (Sydney Roosters), Jason Nightingale (St George-Illawarra Dragons), Kevin Proctor (Melbourne Storm), Martin Taupau (Wests Tigers), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers).
Australian team: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Greg Inglis, Josh Morris, Brett Morris, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, James Tamou, Cameron Smith, Matt Scott, Matt Gillett, Greg Bird, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Daly Cherry-Evans, Nate Myles, Boyd Cordner, Corey Parker. 18th man: Brent Tate.