Matthew Gallagher looks at h...
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The veteran Kiwis forward has phoned coach Daniel Anderson to tell him he is available to play the world champions on July 25.
"That's very heartening from a coaching perspective," Anderson said. "There was conjecture about whether he had retired after the tour last year but he says he wants to play."
Anderson, assistant coach Tony Kemp and selector Brent Todd are just over a month away from their first assignment in Sydney.
And Anderson said he was happy with the increased pressure for spots among the backs.
Several players have put in solid performances in recent weeks to add their names to the contenders list.
There are at least four players chasing spots on the wing. Warriors high flyers Henry Fa'afili and Francis Meli have been impressive as has nuggety Bulldogs speedster Matt Utai.
Jamaal Lolesi has also put his hand up. "He is playing very good football for the Raiders," Anderson said.
And there is plenty of talent in the centres. Clinton Toopi and Nigel Vagana teamed up last season but until he was injured Willie Talau had turned plenty of heads.
"In the centres David Vaealiki definitely put on a show for me last week, he was tremendous for the Eels and showed he's back to his best," Anderson said.
"There's a few more backs coming into form as opposed to a month ago when there wasn't too many."