Warriors hooker Issac Luke has thrown his support behind his former Rabbitohs mentor Michael Maguire's bid to become the next Kiwis coach.
The No 9 maintained his outstanding early season form for the Warriors in Friday's 20-12 NRL victory over the Dragons to continue his push to reclaim his New Zealand jersey for the mid-season test against England in Denver.
Luke was confident Maguire would be a good fit for the Kiwis job, with the 44-year-old on the shortlist of contenders to fill the role previously held by David Kidwell.
The New Zealand Rugby League's coaching appointment panel headed by Dean Bell, along with Frank Endacott, Monty Betham and Waimarama Taumaunu, will begin interviewing candidates this week.
Former New South Wales State of Origin coach Laurie Daley, former Manly coach Geoff Toovey and ex-Canterbury coach Des Hasler are believed to be among the applicants, but the Herald understands Maguire and Daley have strong early backing.
"[Maguire] is a passionate man and knows all about family and culture, and to be able to teach him a bit about our culture, I'm sure he'd love it," Luke said. "I'm sure he'd be able to work with what the Kiwis have at the moment, and whoever gets the role, I'm sure they'll do a fantastic job."
As for himself, Luke was reluctant to talk up his potential international recall after he missed Kiwis selection for last year's World Cup.
But the former Rabbitohs premiership winner is back to the career-best form that helped spearhead South Sydney's 2014 premiership-winning campaign.
"I'm just happy I'm enjoying my football with the Warriors," Luke said. "If I do get the call-up, then it happens, but in saying that, I know that whoever wears the jumper is going to do a good job.
"At the moment, it's just noise. I'm just happy I'm playing good footy and that's what I pride myself on."
The Warriors were missing Shaun Johnson through injury and lost back rower Tohu Harris to concussion and Blake Green to the sinbin in the first-half against the Dragons.
But a brilliant individual display from Luke helped inspire his side to one of the grittiest wins in the club's 24-year-history.
The 30-year-old laid on two crucial plays in the second half, when he kicked a 40-20 before dashing out of dummy half to score the Warriors' third try.
Luke revealed the match-turning kick was his first 40-20 in 11 years of first grade football, saying he'd previously only managed the feat on the training paddock.
"I've never kicked one, that was my first," he said. "I didn't have to kick at the Rabbitohs, [Adam] Reynolds handled all of that.
"All we wanted to do was play territory football and play them down their end and trust our process on defence.
"A hole just opened up. I wasn't going for it, I was just trying to get the ball downtown. I haven't had a kick for a couple weeks, so I was glad it came off."