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Test candidates catch Kearney's eye

April 16, 2014

Test candidates catch Kearney's eye

With only three weeks until the Anzac Test in Sydney, NZ Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney is encouraged by the performances of players in contention for team spots.

"For me, there were a few that stood out," he reflects on Round Six of the NRL.

Incumbent Kiwis five-eighth Kieran Foran (Kiwi #757) showed he's is rounding into form at just the right time to take on the Kangaroos, running for 117 metres in Manly's 24-4 romp over Cronulla Sharks.

"A couple of weeks ago, he had a game where he had been injured and came back to run for 150 metres, and was really good," says Kearney.

"He played really well again on the weekend, which is really positive from a New Zealand point of view."

Another making a strong bid for inclusion is veteran forward Adam Blair (Kiwi #732), who made 26 tackles in West Tigers' 16-4 upset of North Queensland Cowboys.

"With the way the Tigers are going at the moment, I've seen Adam playing football that first earned him a Kiwis jersey a few years ago," says Kearney.

And St George centre Gerard Beale was also impressive, clocking up 154 metres in the Dragons' heartbreaking 24-28 loss to Melbourne Storm after the final siren last night.

"Some of his defensive plays were really good," marvels Kearney.

But one player who seems unlikely to line up for the Kiwis on May 2 is Frank Pritchard (Kiwi #718), who missed last year's World Cup final through injury and tore a pectoral muscle (chest) in the Canterbury Bulldogs' 21-20 nailbiter over the NZ Warriors.

He seems destined to join incumbent hooker Issac Luke on the sidelines.


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