While Peta Hiku knows what it’s all about, new team-mate Jamayne Isaako is just three days away from his first taste of Test football when the New Zealand Kiwis face England in Saturday’s historic ‘Big hits, no pads’ international at Denver’s Mile High Stadium.
The relative veteran Hiku, with 10 Tests to his name, and the exciting Isaako were in the media’s focus today.
Only just turned 22, Christchurch-born and raised Isaako is in his first full NRL season after making his debut with the Broncos last year.
Appearing in each of the Broncos’ 14 games so far this year, he already has 115 points from eight tries, 41 goals and a field goal.
The goal-kicking arm of his game also has him competing for the kicking responsibilities in the Denver Test alongside other sharp operators Issac Luke, Jordan Kahu and Esan Marsters.
Isaako, whose background as a young player was in rugby union, is taking in his rapid rise in rugby league after originally being scouted by Cronulla before moving to the Broncos.
After just a day and a half in Denver, he has been absorbing his selection and now his first day training alongside his Kiwi team-mates.
“To be honest it never crossed my mind about being selected to play for the Kiwis,” Isaako said after the field session.
“It was about a week or two before the selection was made that I got a phone call. ‘Madge’ (Maguire) gave me a call and said the team wasn’t finalised but I was in a good spot for being selected.
“I was shocked that I got a call from him to represent my country. I definitely wasn’t expecting that.”
While Isaako is soaking it all up, Hiku, who normally plays on the right edge inside David Fusitu’a with the Vodafone Warriors, has been running on the left edge with his other club-mate and first-time Kiwi Ken Maumalo.
The Kiwis have further field and gym sessions tomorrow, the training session at the University of Denver being the second and last full run before Friday’s final field outing at Mile High Stadium ahead of the Test on Saturday.
Later in the afternoon Maguire will release his Test team.