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Nathan Cayless' slim chances of making the Kiwis team to play Australia in next Friday's rugby league international in Sydney have been extinguished after the Parramatta prop learned he faces at least another month on the injured roster.
The former Kiwis captain, who broke his arm in mid-April, was hoping to be back for the Eels' National Rugby League (NRL) clash against the Rabbitohs this weekend, but confirmed today he would be out for at least another four weeks.
"I thought I'd be back this week but it's not going too good. The doctor won't let me back until it's fully healed. I just have to be patient."
Cayless was not specifically targeting the second trans-Tasman clash at Auckland in October, saying: "I just want to play a game of footy for anyone."
He missed last year's Kangaroos' test in Wellington and the Kiwis tour of Great Britain and France with a knee injury and had hoped to represent New Zealand with his younger brother Jason, a starting prop with the Sydney Roosters, this year.
However, that goal is on ice as the 25-year-old contemplates the most frustrating three months of his career.
"It's been a tough time I can assure you. The (Parramatta) boys were struggling to win games early on and I felt really helpless not being able to do anything about it.
"I just got in there at training and encouraged the young blokes and it's been great to see them come on and do so well for the club. It's a great sign for the future."
Cayless suffered the injury when he tackled Wests Tigers wing Robbie Beckett during their round six encounter.
"I was looking forward to a big year but it all went wrong when my hand hit Robbie Beckett's head.
"The good thing is I'll coming back at the right end of the season and the team is starting to fire," said Cayless, who thought the Eels could still sneak into the play-offs.
He has been confined to gym work and road work during his lay-off to maintain fitness.
"I've been able to train for the past eight weeks so my fitness is reasonably good."
Meanwhile, Cayless was confident the Kiwis would produce a good showing against the world champions at Aussie Stadium.
"They've (Australia) had a good Origin series to prepare them, but there's always a good spirit within the Kiwis once they get together."
He expected Eels team-mate David Vaealiki to be named at fullback when coach Daniel Anderson announces his lineup on Sunday while "brotherly loyalty" dictated that he also put a word in for Jason ? who made his test debut against France last December.
"He's is good form at the Roosters, I'd like to think he's a chance."
Cayless said the second row combination would be difficult to select with so many worthy contenders.
"Maybe one of the second rowers will be pushed up to the front row. The two guys at Penrith (Tony Puletua and Joe Galuvao) are going really well, then there's Ruben (Wiki) and Steve (Kearney).
Ali Lauiti'iti's recent return from an elbow injury was another positive, Cayless said.