Raiders teammates Shannon Boyd and Jordan Rapana are hoping to lock horns on familiar territory when Canberra hosts this year’s ANZAC Test double header.
The Kangaroos will face the Kiwis in what will be a prelude to the upcoming World Cup, while the Jillaroos also meet the Kiwi Ferns in the women’s rugby league Test on May 5 at GIO Stadium.
Front-rower Boyd and winger Rapa both made their international debuts last year and are eager to represent their countries during the NRL bye.
“It will be good to be able to play against Shannon again and give him a bit of a tussle because he got me last time so I’m due for a bit of payback,” Rapana said on Monday.
But the hulking prop isn’t so sure Rapana will be able to outstrip him if they resume hostilities.
“He reckons he’s going to try and get me back but we’ll see what happens,” Boyd said.
The 24-year-old will be pushing his case in the early part of the year for further representative honours for NSW by sustaining the form which scored him a Test berth.
“They’re always two teams you strive to play for,” Boyd said.
“If I can get a Blues jersey I’ll be stoked with that but happy enough to get an Aussie one and hopefully (keep) playing in it as well.”
It’s not just Boyd who Rapana has his sights on.
Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker, who is set to miss the opening rounds of the NRL season with a knee injury he suffered in Friday night’s All Stars clash, and Joey Leilua could also figure in the ANZAC Test.
“I’d love to play against Joey – I tell him that all the time,” Rapana said.
“I’d love to ruffle up his feathers and give it to him.
“I know he’s a quality player and just as Jarrod is as well and the other 18 players we play with.”
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga, who captained Canberra and Australia, said the ANZAC Test would be a great opportunity to showcase international rugby league in the nation’s capital.
“It’s important to win against the Kiwis at any time but on this occasion there will be the added incentive of the World Cup,” Meninga said.
Rapana is acutely aware of World Cup selection as he looks to cement his spot in the Kiwis line-up this year after being named New Zealand’s rookie of the year in 2016.
“I’ve never played in a World Cup for my country so it would be pretty exciting,” Rapana said.
“It’s a goal of mine to try and achieve.”
Raiders veteran Sia Soliola is leaning towards putting his hand up for Samoan selection at the World Cup after missing out on the Kiwi squad for the Four Nations.
Rapana said Soliola was unfortunate to have missed out on the tournament.
“He’s a quality player and whether he chooses New Zealand or Samoa he’ll be a great asset,” Rapana said.