SOUTHERN Districts giant Kane Douglas has become the latest young NSW Waratah to end the 2012 season on a high after being named in the Wallabies squad for the inaugural EDGE Rugby Championship against New Zealand, starting in 10 days.
Douglas, 26, who played a big role in Souths' 41-32 away win over Eastern Suburbs last Saturday, looks set to follow in the footsteps of his NSW teammate Dave Dennis, who made his Test debut against Scotland in June before featuring in all three of the Wallabies' Test wins over Wales.
Alongside fellow Southern Districts NSW lock Sitaleki Timani, the pair add more than 240kg of size and power to the Australian set-piece.
The hard-working Douglas, who featured at each of the two recent training camps, is one of four uncapped players named in coach Robbie Deans' 30-man Wallaby squad.
Since appearing for the Australian Barbarians against England in 2010, the Maclean-born Douglas is widely respected for the work ethic that has seen him develop into one of Australia's best set-piece exponents.
He earned selection for NSW Country as an under-17, and while older brother Luke was snapped up by the Cronulla Sharks in league, Kane was picked up by the NSW Academy in 2008.
He represented Australia at Under-20 level in 2009, earned a senior contract with the Waratahs in 2010 and capped an outstanding debut by winning the Chris Whitaker Aspiring Waratah Award.
He started in the number five jersey in all but one of the Waratahs' 16 matches.
His inclusion takes the NSW contingent to 10, including the entire tight five of Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu, Sitaleki Timani and Douglas, as well as loose forward Dave Dennis and backs Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Rob Horne and Drew Mitchell.
Meanwhile doubles to Waratahs Atieli Pakalani and John Ulugia helped the Rebels seal a 41-32 bonus point victory over Easts at Woollahra Oval.
With the two sides neck and neck all afternoon, it was left to a late Pakalani try to seal a Souths' victory, with fullback Ben Volavola racking up an impressive 16 points and proving himself to be an able replacement for Brackin Karauria-Henry.
Southern Districts, entrenched in the top four, now have just one regular season match to play (after this weekend's bye) against Sydney University in round 16, while seventh-placed Easts face second-placed Manly and West Harbour take on 11th placed Randwick.