New Zealand backrower Frank Pritchard looks set for a quick return to the Test line-up following a standout performance in the Kiwi Invitational's 48-18 rugby league win over Australia Invitational at Telstra Dome on Saturday night.
Dropped after a subdued performance in last week's opening Tri-Nations loss to the Kangaroos, Pritchard pressed his claims for an immediate recall with several crunching hits in defence and two powerful tries in the curtain raiser to the second Tri-Nations encounter.
After giving up a third minute try to Australia Invitational skipper Ben Hornby, the Kiwis put the foot on the accelerator with three quick tries to take an 18-6 lead before young Newcastle forward Cory Paterson dragged one back just before the break when he ran onto a clever short ball from Knights teammate Jarrod Mullen.
The second stanza started perfectly for the visitors when Pritchard intercepted a Mullen chip kick before outsprinting Antonio Kaufusi in a 60-metre run to the line.
Australian Test squad members Kaufusi, Hornby and winger Jarryd Hayne all took part in the contest in a bid to get some match fitness, the Storm prop impressing with several deft offloads, one of which supplied young Brisbane colt Joel Moon with an easy run to the tryline.
It was all the Kiwis after that, however, with the visitors running in five tries in the final 20 minutes, Bulldogs utility Ben Roberts completing his hat-trick with a stunning long-range try that started deep in the Kiwis half.