Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga is wary of a full-strength Kiwis spine bolstered by the likely return of Kieran Foran and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for next Friday's Anzac test in Canberra.

Meninga expects the five-eighth and fullback to be among the first players picked by New Zealand coach David Kidwell when the squad is announced on Sunday, to complete an all-Warriors spine together with halfback Shaun Johnson and hooker Issac Luke.

The quartet are set to reunite in black and white for the first time since the Kiwis last beat Australia in the corresponding Anzac test two years ago.

Personal circumstances and injury saw Foran and Tuivasa-Sheck ruled out of last year's international fixtures and the Kiwis form suffered as a result.


Meninga believes their return will ensure the Kiwis are a much improved outfit from the side that lost four tests to Australia last season including the embarrassing 34-8 defeat in the Four Nations final last October.

"Absolutely. (I expect) Kieran and Roger to be there," Meninga told the Herald in a one on one interview.

"They'll be a lot more formidable than they were in the Four Nations.

"Just with those four guys in the spine, with the Warriors combination together with Issac Luke and Shaun Johnson.

"Big Jesse Bromwich is a fantastic player as well so the Kiwis will be very big, very strong, very motivated and there's no doubts they'll be wanting to make up for last year."

Foran and Tuivasa-Sheck both played a big part in helping the side win three consecutive tests against Australia through the 2014 Four Nations and the 2015 transtasman clash at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

Foran has lost just one of his past 11 tests and in just nine club outings for Parramatta last year and four appearances for the Warriors this season, has shown he can improve any team he slots into.

His presence has also helped get the best out of halves partner Johnson and Meninga believes the Kiwis will benefit from the consistency of their experienced combinations, as Australia do with Melbourne duo Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk and Queensland comrade Johnathan Thurston.

"He's taking a little bit of that structural pressure off Shaun and allows him to play what he sees," he said.

"Like us, when you've got that consistency around that spine it helps the cohesion and fluency through your team.

"With the football your kicking game becomes more effective because you've got so many options and defensively because they play together all of the time.

"All of those combinations help the team and when it's needed too.

"At times when you need to make a really good decision, those guys will come up with that and help the team get over whatever hurdles they might encounter."

Despite the Kangaroos having reclaimed the world's number one ranking, Meninga denies the Kiwis have fallen off the pace and says the challenge for New Zealand is to match the standards set by Australia over the past year.

"I don't think they have dropped off at all. I think we're better. We've raised the bar around how we play the game so that's the challenge for the Kiwis, to get back up to where we are.

"I reckon we've raised the bar and I reckon the Kiwis will raise the bar and it will start next Friday."