Now this is what a real ‘big four’ looks like.
The Kangaroos will barely have time to fit in a visit to Questacon, but coach Mal Meninga insists his men will be learning all about New Zealand’s much-vaunted spine next week.
The likely return of former Kiwis captain Kieran Foran and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has the undefeated Australia coach on high alert ahead of Friday week’s Test in Canberra.
Together with Warriors clubmates Issac Luke and Shaun Johnson, the quartet will finally reunite in black for the first time since the corresponding fixture two years ago.
And in an ominous sign for the world’s No.1-ranked nation, Foran has lost just one of his past 11 Tests for the Kiwis dating back to the mid-year Test four years ago.
He has won three of his past four clashes against the Kangaroos, and will again be a key figure in what is expected to be a much-improved side that lost the Four Nations final last October.
Meninga predicted the Warriors’ foursome would be the first four names picked by counterpart David Kidwell when the Kiwis team is announced on Sunday.
“From a cohesion combination, short preparation point of view, that makes them extremely dangerous,” Meninga said of what is widely-regarded as the best spine in the NRL.
“We all know what a great player Kieran is, taking pressure off Issac Luke and Shaun Johnson … Roger’s back too obviously.
“That combination’s something we have to prepare really well for given the short preparation.”
Meninga on Wednesday made minimal changes to the side that gave him his sixth win from as many games as Kangaroos coach at Anfield.
Will Chambers and Aaron Woods came in for injured duo Greg Inglis and Matt Scott, while the only unforced change is the return of Josh Papalii for Canberra clubmate Shannon Boyd.
Meninga is adamant Papalii deserved his recall after missing the final due to injury himself.
“He played in Newcastle last year and played in the Four Nations as well but unfortunately got injured,” he said.
“But his form, you can’t deny him a spot in this team.”