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It's been 18 months since the last time the Kiwis and Kangaroos faced each other and a lot has changed in that time.

Scanning the team sheets from Australia's 30-12 win in Canberra in May 2017 reveals just five Kangaroos and eight Kiwis from that game will take part in Saturday's clash at Mt Smart Stadium.

After a generation of stability, it is Australia who go into this one fresh-faced following the representative retirements of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston, Sam Thaiday and Darius Boyd.

Andrew Fifita defected to Tonga. Michael Morgan, Blake Ferguson and Matt Gillett are injured. Of the remaining players from the 12 who won't feature, Josh Dugan, Will Chambers and Trent Merrin were available but leapfrogged by other players who displayed stronger form in 2018.

Valentine Holmes, David Klemmer, Boyd Cordner, Jake Trbojevic and Tyson Frizell are the only consistent names.

There were some debuts handed out through the 2017 World Cup, but even so, the Kangaroos will have four debutants on Saturday in Roosters trio Luke Keary, James Tedesco and Latrell Mitchell, and hooker Damien Cook.

World Cup debutants like Tom Trbojevic, Felise Kaufusi and Jordan McLean grow in importance in Mal Meninga's set-up while others such as Josh McGuire, 15-Test veteran Aaron Woods and Ben Hunt all debuted prior to the 2017 May Test and missed that game but played in the World Cup.

Daly Cherry-Evans is recalled after four years out of the Test scene and now at 29 years of age gets a run as first-choice playmaker.

Half the Kiwis team from that May 2017 Test will line up again and it would be more if Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke weren't injured. Kieran Foran is also unavailable this time round through injury, though his selection was far from certain even if fit.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (on the wing then but moved to fullback as captain this weekend), Jordan Rapana, Shaun Johnson, Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Kevin Proctor, Adam Blair, Martin Taupau and Kodi Nikorima (who has moved from the bench to halfback) are the familiar names.

Like Australia, they have one Tongan defection with Jason Taumalolo to line up for the Mate Ma'a in the post-season. Russell Packer and Simon Mannering have retired from rep duties and all footy respectively.

The only form-related omissions are Jordan Kahu and Dean Whare, though the latter broke his arm in round 24 which would have hurt his chances of making the squad.

Debutant Joseph Manu demanded inclusion while promising Storm rookie Brandon Smith was the logical choice at dummy half following the injury to Luke. Others like James Fisher-Harris, Ken Maumalo and Esan Marsters have been rightly rewarded for strong 2018 form and are incumbents from the mid-year Denver Test. 

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