The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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After a four-year absence from the New Zealand Test team Melbourne Storm forward David Kidwell has won back his New Zealand jersey, receiving a recall to the national side today ahead of Friday night?s Anzac Test match against Australia in Newcastle.
With Parramatta centre David Vaealiki ruled out with a rib injury earlier today, Kidwell is set to celebrate his 27th Birthday on Friday night by lining-up for New Zealand for the first time since 2000.
Kidwell has been rewarded for his early-season form with Melbourne and looks to have finally found his feet at the Storm after brief stints with the now defunct Adelaide Rams, the Eels, the Roosters, and Warrington in the English Super League.
The Christchurch-born forward utility was delighted to receive the good news this afternoon and will join his Kiwi teammates later today.
?I thought it was a joke at first, when ?Sharpy? (Storm assistant coach Peter Sharp) came in and told me I actually thought he was joking?, said Kidwell, who has six Test caps to his name.
?I?m really looking forward to it and glad to be getting my Test jumper back, it was one of my goals this year and last year and it?s always good to achieve your goals.?
Now that he has earned a recall to the New Zealand team, Kidwell says he plans to remain a constant in the Kiwi side after a number of seasons away from the Test arena.
?I?d like to have a good game on Friday night and try to establish myself in the side,? he added.
?I?ll be trying to do those things that have been working well for me with the Storm and prepare in the same manner this week.
?I can?t remember when a Kiwi side had back-to-back wins against an Australian side, we are definitely the underdogs and sometimes that tag can be a really good thing.?
26-year-old Kidwell and Storm skipper Stephen Kearney will be Melbourne?s only representatives in Friday night?s Test after Australian trio Matt Orford, Scott Hill and Cameron Smith were overlooked for the Kangaroo side.
The Storm?s other connection to the Anzac test comes via coach Craig Bellamy who is in camp with the Australian side as an assistant to head coach Wayne Bennett.
It is the first time the pair has been reunited as a working team since Bellamy left the Brisbane Broncos coaching staff at the end of the 2002 season.
In Bellamy?s absence, Sharp and Dean Lance will oversee the Storm?s preparations ahead of its clash with the Cowboys this Saturday night at Olympic Park.