Panthers centre Dean Whare has declared himself a certain starter for New Zealand in the Four Nations – and he reckons he'll be facing some teammates when he gets there.
The Kiwi centre's preliminary final ended early when he went off in a medicab after suffering some nasty friendly fire from fellow Panther Sika Manu in the second half against the Bulldogs.
But the incumbent New Zealand three-quarter was back on his feet post-game and eager to add to his nine Test caps.
"[It was] just a bit of a head knock, but I'm pretty sweet now. I remember everything. I'm just disappointed we didn't get the win. If I'm in contention, hopefully I get a start. I'm definitely ready to go," he told NRL.com.
After a successful year at club level – he was just one of two players to appear in all 26 games for the Panthers this season – the former Manly centre said he was hungry to help the Kiwis atone for their World Cup final heartbreak against the Kangaroos last year.
"My main concentration was playing for Penrith this year [but] if I make the Kiwis squad, it'll be even better and something I want to relish and back up from last year. Losing that World Cup final, I'm hungrier to go out and win this Four Nations," he said.
And he anticipates a face-off with one or two club-mates as well, with Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens publically acknowledging that Penrith talents Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour and Adam Docker were well in contention to make his extended squad.
"We've got a lot of people in our team with a chance of making the squad. With all the injuries the Aussies have, you've got Matty Moylan, Mansour in contention. It would definitely be exciting to play against them and something I'd cherish," he said.
Moylan, 23, was stunned to learn of Sheens' backing and said "it would be a dream come true" if he were to train alongside the bigger names of the NRL.
"I haven't read too much into it – I've just tried to focus on my footy," he said. "But just to be tossed up is something special and if it ended up happening, it'd be a dream come true. Hearing it gave me a bit more confidence, a bit of a boost.
"To get it from him... just to be looked at is something I'll take. I'm only in my second year, so if I end up getting that experience, I'll grab it with both hands and I won't look back."