KNIGHTS skipper Kalyn Ponga and centre Bradman Best are a step closer to their Test debuts after being named in the Kangaroos' train-on squad.
After Newcastle were eliminated from the play-off race by the Warriors on Saturday, national-team coach Mal Meninga has wasted no time in adding Ponga and Best to his list of candidates for the end-of-season series against Samoa and New Zealand.
Ponga has played for the Junior Kangaroos, and seven Origins for Queensland, but is yet to wear the green-and-gold at senior level.
Best represented Australian Schoolboys in 2018 and made a sensational two-try debut for NSW in Origin III this year.
It is understood Newcastle forward Tyson Frizell - a veteran of 14 Tests for Australia - was also closely considered by Meninga.
Meanwhile, Phoenix Crossland's hopes of a New Zealand call-up are likely to hinge on the severity of a knee injury he sustained against the Warriors.
The Knights hooker suffered suspected medial-ligament damage but the club was waiting for him to undergo scans.
New Zealand's first game in the series is against Samoa on October 21.
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