The curse of Kiwis' wingers has continued, with exciting youngster Dallin Watene-Zelezniak ruled out of the Four Nations tournament.
The Penrith star has a "minor fracture" in his foot, incurred during a light beach training run on Sunday on the Gold Coast.
It was initially thought that the 19-year-old had only rolled his ankle but a scan yesterday confirmed the worst fears of Kiwis management.
Gerard Beale will replace Watene-Zelezniak for Saturday's match while Broncos utility Josh Hoffman fills his place in the squad.
Kearney wouldn't elaborate on why Beale was preferred ahead of specialist wingers like Manu Vatuvei and Sosaia Feki, only saying the Dragons player was the "right fit for [Saturday's] game".
It's somewhat of a reprieve for Hoffman - who was one of the more unlucky players to miss out on the original selection - but a cruel blow for the Kiwis.
It has echoes of the loss of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in the opening minutes of last year's World Cup final. Watene-Zelezniak was a rookie but he is also a rare talent - one that could have made a huge impact on Saturday's game.
"He's a big loss," said prop Jesse Bromwich. "He's such a talent but mainly I feel sorry for him; he had brought a lot to the camp."
The Kiwis now have a notable lack of game breakers in the back line, with Beale, Jason Nightingale and Peta Hiku all falling into the solid rather than spectacular category.
Despite the loss of Watene-Zelezniak the Kiwis seemed upbeat as they completed an intense and extended training session in sweltering Brisbane heat today.
The entire squad practiced new wrestling techniques before the team split into two groups. The backs and edge players spent a long period on planned moves while the props and locks did a lot of close quarter work, with new hooker Thomas Leuluai particularly prominent.
Former Kiwis Quentin Pongia and Clinton Toopi joined the session, getting involved in the contact work with 45-year-old Pongia rolling back the years with some big hits.