Just over a week on from suffering the heartbreak of NRL grand final defeat, Tohu Harris said the Storm’s Kiwi contingent have already put the disappointment behind them.
Three players from the NRL runners-up have been selected in the final Kiwis squad, with Harris joined by fellow back-rower Kevin Proctor and new permanent New Zealand captain Jesse Bromwich.
When the side runs out for Saturday’s clash against the Kangaroos in Perth it will be only 13 days since the NRL decider took place, but Harris insisted his mind turned completely to the task at hand for New Zealand the second he entered camp this week.
— Melbourne Storm (@storm) October 3, 2016
“Obviously the [grand final] loss hurts, but this is a new environment with a new team and you can’t dwell on results from different teams when you are playing for a team like New Zealand,” Harris told Commentary Box Sports.
“It’s a new challenge playing against Australia and a new game, so we will just have to make sure we are preparing for this game and not focussing on another one, otherwise a team like Australia will make us pay.
“I’m glad to be part of this team and excited that we have got a new game to look forward to.”
— NRL (@NRL) October 3, 2016
Among the major talking points to follow the naming of David Kidwell’s first New Zealand squad as a head coach, was the decision to appoint Bromwich as the side’s captain ahead of Simon Mannering.
A veteran of 41 Tests, Mannering has now relinquished captaincy of both the Warriors and Kiwis in the space of 12 months.
The decision to appoint Bromwich – the reigning New Zealand Player of the Year – comes after the 27-year-old captained the Kiwis in the mid-year Test, which Mannering missed through injury.
“He [Bromwich] is handling it really well…he’s taking the captaincy on board and stepping up where we need him too,” Harris said of the 2016 Dally M Prop of the Year.
“He has got a good support cast with the leaders around him.
“He hasn’t changed a whole lot and he doesn’t really need to change a whole lot; that is why he got the role.
“Over the last couple of years he has stepped up with the club and in the Kiwis’ environment.
“Personally I am really proud of him and I love having him as captain.”
The Perth match – which will be the first Test ever held in Western Australia – is New Zealand and Australia’s only hit-out before departing for the 2016 Four Nations in England, which starts on October 28.
— NZ Rugby League (@NZRL_Kiwis) October 11, 2016