Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dallin Watene-Zelzniak, Ben Matulino and Sam Moa have forced their way back into Kiwis contention for this week's Anzac Test in Brisbane, after missing last year's Four Nations triumph.
"All of these players have been in good form so far this season and really put their hands up for inclusion in this Anzac Test side," said coach Stephen Kearney.
"It's a sign that we are developing some great young talent and good depth in certain positions."
Tuivasa-Sheck was unavailable for the end-of-season internationals, but has hit top form in his new role as Sydney Roosters fullback.
Teenage sensation Watene-Zelezniak was actually named to make his Kiwis debut on the wing in the Four Nations opener, but broke a bone in his foot during the team’s build-up for that game and could play no further part in the tournament.
A variety of injuries kept Matulino out of the Kiwis programme last year, while Moa withdrew from Four Nations consideration due to family illness.
But the group has also suffered a couple of setbacks over the weekend, with news that Four Nations mainstays Dean Whare and Jason Taumalolo would not be available through injury.
Whare has nursed a hamstring strain for several weeks and could not take the field for Penrith Panthers tonight, while Taumalolo left the field early in North Queensland's win over Newcastle yesterday with a knee injury.
"It's disappointing to lose those lads, but that’s the nature of the game sometimes," says Kearney.
"We believe this team is capable of a job for us this week and it's also an opportunity to take another step towards our ultimate goal – the 2017 World Cup."
Kiwis squad for Friday’s Anzac Test: Jesse Bromwich, Lewis Brown, Greg Eastwood, Kieran Foran, Tohu Harris, Peta Hiku, Shaun Johnson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Thomas Leuluai, Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino, Sam Moa, Kevin Proctor, Matin Taupau, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Manu Vatuvei and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
Kiwi Ferns squad for the Anzac Test curtainraiser: Tasha Davie, Shontelle Dudley, Maitua Feterika, Teuila Fotu-Moala, Georgia Hale, Annabelle Hohepa, Nora Maaka, Kelly Maipi, Laura Mariu, Krystal Murray, Hilda Peters, Kahurangi Peters, Rona Peters, Krystal Rota, Kristina Sue, Atawhai Tupaea, Janna Vaughan and Sharnita Woodman.
Junior Kiwis squad to play Junior Kangaroos: Bunty Afoa (NZ Warriors), Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne Storm), Zach Dockar-Clay (Parramatta Eels), James Fisher-Harris (Penrith Panthers), Watson Heleta (Wests Tigers), Jamayne Isaako (Cronulla Sharks), Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers), Daniel Levi (Newcastle Knights), Lamar Liolevave (Wests Tigers), Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters), Te Maire Martin (Wests Tigers), Taane Milne (Sydney Roosters), Marata Niukore (NZ Warriors), Toafofoa Sipley (N Warriors), Jazz Tevaga (NZ Warriors), Renouf To’omaga (Canterbury Bulldogs), Tony Tumusa (Melbourne Storm) and Braden Uele (North Queensland Cowboys).