Kangaroos veteran Luke Lewis has declared himself a certain starter for next Friday's Test against the Kiwis after surviving a first-half injury scare in Sunday afternoon's 26-18 loss to the Panthers.
Lewis was named by Australia coach Tim Sheens on Sunday evening, in what will be his first Test since suffering a major shoulder injury against Fiji in the 2013 World Cup in England.
"To play for your country, I love sitting in the room before you run out and putting them socks on," he said post-game.
"You look around the room and see the players that you're playing with. It always gives you chills and pinch yourself to see how lucky you are."
But his recall to the international arena was almost over before it began.
The Sharks second-rower thought he had re-aggravated a knee injury when he hobbled off midway through the first half in Penrith.
"I hyper-extended it in a tackle. I got scared at the start, probably the first five minutes there," he said.
"But when I got up and started walking it started coming good. I just got in that awkward position, but it's all good now. It was just a freak accident. I just got into a position where your leg extended and just got pretty sore straight away, but it's alright now."
Lewis returned early in the second half and finished the match with 79 metres and 31 tackles in what was his fourth-straight game since minor knee surgery in the off-season.
Despite the injury scare, he declared himself a certain starter for Australia.
"100 per cent, I will be," he said. "I missed the Four Nations last year which was disappointing. But it was good for me to get the body right, you get back on the training park in the pre-season which definitely helps the body prepare for this NRL season."
Sunday's clash was Lewis' first game at Penrith since leaving the club at the end of 2012. The Sharks led 18-12 at the main break but were held scoreless in the second half as his former team ran in two tries.
"I can't take anything away from Penrith, they played pretty well," he said. "They completed their sets and hung in there. We didn't complete the sets the way that we wanted to, whereas a week before we were really good at that. That's football, sometimes you turn up to play and some days you're just not spot on. Today we needed to be spot on and we just weren't."