Leuluai expecting Kiwis omissions for Warriors
Warriors utility Thomas Leuluai has admitted he fears the poor form of the Warriors could cost himself, and a number of club teammates, spots in the Kiwis team for the upcoming Test against Australia.
Mid-week Issac Luke boldly stated that he wasn't deserving of a Kiwi jersey based on current performances, and Leuluai told NRL.com there were several others feeling the same way.
"After last weekend's performance, it would have damaged a few of us with our chances," Leuluai said following the Warriors' 42-0 defeat to the Storm on Anzac Day.
"The Kiwi team at the moment, it's not like it has been in the last couple of years where they have struggled for depth.
"Two or three years ago you could probably pick the team before the game, but now there are so many guys pushing, which is great."
With regular Kiwis squad members Manu Vatuvei and Ben Matulino being dropped to reserve grade this week for failing to meet standards – along with Bodene Thompson who is also a strong contender for a national spot – there are serious questions about whether Stephen Kearney will still consider them for the May 7 clash.
But with several established players already ruled out, Kearney has limited options for the meeting with the world champion Kangaroos.
Kieran Foran, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Dean Whare and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will all miss the game, while New Zealand look set to be without Tuimoala Lolohea and Simon Mannering as well, with both battling to recover from injuries sustained in Round 8.
"The Kiwi jumper, you don't own it, you're just in it," Leuluai said.
"I don't know to be honest, I think he [Kearney] has wielded the axe before hasn't he?
"He will just pick guys who are playing well and who he thinks can do the job.
"To be honest I haven’t really thought about it because we have got enough on our plate [at the Warriors] at the moment."
The Kiwis name their squad on Sunday night before assembling in camp ahead of the match at Hunter Stadium.