Nelson Asofa-Solomona's hopes of making his Kiwis debut have been delayed after scans confirmed the Storm behemoth had fractured a metacarpal in his right hand during Melbourne's 34-22 win over the Dragons on Sunday afternoon.
The news is a cruel blow for the 200cm giant who has been in career-best form for the Storm in 2017 highlighted by a man-of-the-match performance in the Anzac Day win over the Warriors.
Speaking to NRL.com before news of the injury had come to light, Kiwis skipper Jesse Bromwich praised his fellow front-rower's commitment to better himself as a player on and off the field.
"It's a great effort for Nelson to make the team. He played really well last week against the Warriors and did some great things tonight as well," Bromwich said after the Dragons game.
"I think it's a great reward for all the hard work he's been putting in because he's been working really hard at training on his fitness and on his weight, so congratulations to him.
"For a big guy he can really move. You don't see too many guys at his size able to move the way he does. The speed he can generate coupled with his size makes it really hard for defenders to handle. I'm just really happy he's on my side."
While Asofa-Solomona won't feature in the Anzac Test in Canberra on Friday, the Kiwis are set to welcome back veteran Simon Mannering for the first time since the corresponding clash in 2015.
The Warriors lock was skipper on that occasion but has since lost the captaincy to Bromwich.
"I'm obviously proud because it's a big occasion for me and my family whenever I get to do that," Bromwich said of the captaincy.
"Having Simon there will take a bit of weight off me. He doesn't have the 'C' next to his name but he's definitely a leader and someone everyone else looks up to."
The Test match has come at the perfect time for Bromwich who is keen for a big performance after an injury-riddled start to the year.
The 2016 Dally M Prop of the year dislocated his thumb 10 minutes into his side's Round 1 win over the Bulldogs, and while he only missed one game it's clear the Kiwis enforcer isn't quite back to his best.
Bromwich – who played every game in 2015 and 2016 – also missed the Round 6 loss to the Sharks with a back injury but is confident the early setbacks will in fact benefit him in the long run.
"We're still working on the thumb at the moment trying to get the scar tissue to go down and the swelling to go away. It'll be sore for the next couple of months but it's something that doesn't bother me," he said.
"It's happened now so for me it's about moving on and trying to string a few games together and get the form going.
"I think if anything it affects my one-handed offloads a bit, but other than that there are no dramas. It's not something I want to use as an excuse so I'll just keep working on it off the field to make sure we get it back to 100 per cent.
"It's something new to me because I haven't really suffered too many injury setbacks in my career. I'm just trying to remain positive and focus on the fact that I should be fresher come the backend of the year because of the games I've missed."