DAVID Klemmer has become Newcastle's first Australian Test front-rower since the halcyon days of Mark Sargent and Paul Harragon after being named in the squad for end-of-season internationals against New Zealand and Tonga.
Klemmer, who played in 17 Tests during six seasons with his former club, Canterbury, was chosen on Monday for Tests against the Kiwis on October 25 at WIN Stadium in Wollongong, followed by Tonga at Eden Park on November 2.
He will become the 21st Knight to wear the green and gold and the first since Dane Gagai in 2017.
Meanwhile, Knights dynamo Kalyn Ponga has been named in the Australian squad for the World Nines tournament at Bankwest Stadium on October 18-19.
Ponga was also chosen as five-eighth for the Junior Kangaroos (under-23s), who will play France in a curtain-raiser at WIN Stadium on October 25.
The Knights have not had a Kangaroos prop in their ranks since club legend Harragon retired midway through the 1999 season.
A regular in the national team since his 2014 debut, Klemmer is one of four front-rowers named in Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga's 19-man squad.
Canberra wrecking ball Josh Papalii is the likely candidate to partner Klemmer in the starting line-up, providing he can prove his fitness.
Papalii suffered a pectoral injury early in Sunday's 14-8 grand final loss to Sydney Roosters but bravely played through the pain barrier.
Melbourne lock Dale Finucane has been placed on standby for Papalii.
The other big men on Meninga's engine-room rotation are debutants Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra) and Payne Haas (Brisbane).
There was concern Klemmer might have required surgery when he aggravated a wrist injury in Newcastle's final-round 54-10 thrashing by Penrith, but scans cleared him of any serious damage.
Klemmer enjoyed an outstanding first season with the Knights and many were surprised when back-rower Mitch Barnett beat him for the club's player-of-the-year award.
The towering 25-year-old averaged almost 170 attacking metres and 34 tackles in his 21 games. He also represented NSW in Origins I and III and helped the Blues rack up their second consecutive series win.
Meninga said Ponga was not seriously considered for the Test squad because of the presence of Sydney Roosters champion James Tedesco as fullback.
But the coach added that the array of young stars named in both the Nines and the new Australian under-23 team were being groomed for higher honours.
"The whole idea of the under-23 concept is both the national squad and under-23 squad will train together with a view to setting down a program over the next couple of years," Meninga said said.
"Payne Haas has obviously made his way into the top squad this time around but guys like David Fifita, Kalyn Ponga, all those young superstars at the moment have got a great opportunity to come into the top squad over the next couple of years."
Ponga had a mixed season for Newcastle.
He was their leading tryscorer with 11 and starred for Queensland in Origin I.
But he was not on the short-list of five players nominated last week for the Dally M fullback of the year award, won by Tedesco.
The other four nominees were Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Raiders), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors), Clint Gutherson (Eels) and Jahrome Hughes (Storm).
KANGAROOS: Boyd Cordner (capt), Josh Addo-Carr, Daly Cherry-Evans, Damien Cook, Nick Cotric, Tyson Frizell, Wade Graham, Payne Haas, Ben Hunt, Luke Keary, David Klemmer, Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Munster, Cameron Murray, Josh Papalii, James Tedesco, Jake Trbojevic, Paul Vaughan, Jack Wighton.
AUSTRALIAN NINES: Josh Addo-Carr, Jai Arrow, AJ Brimson, Nathan Brown, Kyle Feldt, David Fifita, Tyson Frizell, Reuben Garrick, Wade Graham, Clint Gutheron, Ben Hunt, Mitchell Moses, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Kalyn Ponga, Curtis Scott, Cody Walker.
JUNIOR KANGAROOS: Ryan Papenhuyzen, Campbell Graham, Curtis Scott, Brad Parker, Reuben Garrick, Kalyn Ponga, Brodie Croft, Corey Horsburgh, Reed Mahoney, Thomas Flegler, David Fifita, Angus Crichton, Victor Radley, AJ Brimson, Nat Butcher, Emre Guler, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Paul Momirovski.