The redemption of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves could become one of the defining features of Kiwi's 2019 campaign.

He was superb in the memorable victory over the Kangaroos a fortnight ago, and over the next three weeks in England has the chance to stamp his mark in the black and white jersey, and establish his legacy in the Kiwis.

That might sound strange – for a senior player who has 26 tests to his name – but Waerea-Hargreaves has sometimes struggled to transfer club form to the international stage.

Despite making his debut back in 2009, and impressing in the first few years, his international career didn't go the way many expected.


He wasn't always someone a Kiwis pack was built around – lacking the consistency of a Dane Sorensen, Kevin Tamati, Quentin Pongia or Ruben Wiki – as his form fluctuated.

He wasn't selected for the end of year test in Townsville in 2012, before being recalled for the 2013 World Cup, where, like many others, he failed to impress.

The Rotorua-product was then absent from the scene until the 2016 Four Nations, with moderate performances in the first two tests before being injured.

He wasn't first choice for the World Cup squad last year, but got a late call up after other withdrawals.

To his credit, Waerea-Hargreaves recognises the mixed nature of his career.

"I debuted in 09, played in 2010 and 2011, then missed out a few here and there, Waerea-Hargreaves told the Herald last year . "I played in a World Cup and then missed out for a couple more years. It hurt to sit on the sideline and watch the boys run around, because I am such a proud Kiwi."

He also accepts the criticism thrown his way, as a high profile NRL player, with three grand finals to his name, who hasn't always replicated that for his country.
"Everyone is focussed on their opinion and I don't focus too much on that external stuff and what other people think," said Waerea-Hargreaves. "But, at the end of the day, I haven't performed in that environment, in the biggest arenas."

That might be about to change.

He gave a game-changing display in the grand final, at the forefront of a Roosters pack that destroyed the Melbourne Storm in the first 25 minutes.

The 29-year-old was then an irrestiible force against the Kangaroos, especially in his ability to make post contact metres, to claim his first career win over Australia.

"It's been a pretty big 10 months," said Waerea-Hargreaves. "Obviously I am pretty happy.
I know where I am at. It was my first victory in 25 tests so it meant a lot to myself."

"I felt like I had overdone [things] in the past. [Against Australia] I just kept it simple, tried to do my job. That's what you need to do as a front rower, do you job and do it well. I'm really happy with the way I am travelling, we are travelling, but we have to continue to work hard."

Fatherhood has helped Waerea-Hargreaves mature (he has two young daughters with wife Chelsea), while the stem cell treatment for his knee over the recent off season was a god send physically.

He's also enjoying the approach of new Kiwis coach Michael Maguire

"It's [the] simplicity," said Waerea-Hargreaves. "Everyone has been able to do their thing. Everyone is big on their preparation these days, you need to be as professional as you can [and] everyone was doing their job each day, ticking boxes, whatever it was, pushing each other, whether it was in the gym or out on the field."

After their Dubai stopover – which included camel rides, dinner in the dessert and a training session in 38 degree heat – the Kiwis are established at their Manchester base ahead of the first test in Hull this Sunday (NZT).

They completed a training session in Wigan yesterday, ahead of the official series launch in Leeds (overnight NZT).