A marquee clash with Mate Ma'a Tonga could become an annual event for the Kiwis, as part of an enhanced programme for the national side.
The test on Saturday at Mt Smart will be another massive spectacle, following on from the games in 2017 in Hamilton and 2019 in Auckland.
Despite the absence of international league for more than two years, 26,000 fans will flock to Mt Smart, another reminder of the pulling power of the Island team.
It's the first time the Kiwis will have played in a sold-out New Zealand stadium since the 1988 World Cup final against Australia at Eden Park.
It's an economic bonanza that is hard to ignore, as the New Zealand Rugby League plan for 2023 and beyond. There are no more mid-year tests – with the new NRL calendar from next season – but the NZRL want to make the most of the new dedicated international window.
"This is the big fixture for us," NZRL boss Greg Peters told the Weekend Herald. "We want to be playing Australia every year and need to fit that in with our plans but we certainly want to be playing fixtures like this regularly - it's a big ticket item."
Peters has the lofty goal of between four to six Kiwis tests in the new October/November window.
"In an ideal world that's what we want," said Peters. "To build an international programme and drive commercial revenue from it, and also high performance outcomes, you need a good number of tests every year."
The Kiwis played five tests in 2018, including a three-match tour of England, before four games in 2019 against Tonga, Australia and Great Britain (two), though both years featured a mid-season test.
There are a number of ideas on the table for 2023.
At least one transtasman match is imperative while there is also discussion about a Pacific tournament (similar to the 2019 Oceania Cup) featuring Australia, New Zealand and all the Island teams.
"We are looking at what we could do, instead of just ad hoc tests," confirmed Peters.
England are also key to the equation, as six of the nine Kiwis tests since the last World Cup have involved the northern hemisphere nation (the 2019 Great Britain side was a de-facto England team).
"We can play down here but when do we go to England, how do we involve England - that is the more challenging aspect," said Peters. "It is an historical rivalry that needs to be protected and enhanced."
Samoa is another compelling rival. The Kiwis have only played Toa Samoa three times since 2010 (twice at World Cups) but they are on the rise and have a strong fanbase in this country.
Any potential schedule will need to be negotiated with the NRL and clubs, who often have a narrow focus. The idea of a postseason test window looks good in theory, but is often compromised by players needing surgery or being pressured by their clubs to take a break, though Peters is confident that a calendar can be hammered out.
"We don't have mid-year tests anymore but we have the end of year window that is locked in and everyone understands that it is going to happen," said Peters.
The other challenge is economic, with the costs of staging Saturday's double header significant.
"It's well north of half a million," said Peters. "There are player payments for all teams, hotels, flights – we had 80 people coming across the Tasman – so it's significant. It's only economically viable if you have these sell out games."
For the first time, there is pay parity across the men's and women's teams, with players across the four squads (Kiwis, Kiwi Ferns, Tonga and Tonga Women) receiving approximately $3000 each. It's a bill that used to be met by the NRL but is now the responsibility of the NZRL, as the event organiser.