Isaako warms up for Kiwis with nines blitz

Jamayne Isaako scored a tournament-high seven tries for New Zealand in the World Cup nines.
Jamayne Isaako scored a tournament-high seven tries for New Zealand in the World Cup nines.

New Zealand coach Michael Maguire is buoyed by the prospect of seeing a rejuvenated Jamayne Isaako in Friday's rugby league Test against Australia.

Isaako was arguably the Kiwis' best in a World Cup nines campaign that ended in a stinging 24-10 loss to the Kangaroos in the final.

The Brisbane star crossed for a tournament-high seven tries, edging a list that included Australian pair Josh Addo-Carr and Mitchell Moses.

Maguire insisted he was proud of his team's effort in reaching the decider at Bankwest Stadium despite falling short of lifting the trophy.

"In nines, it comes down to one moment in time," Maguire said.

"You could look at a few of those throughout the game, but I thought all-in-all it was a great effort from our boys.

"They're pretty disappointed because they worked really hard to be able to achieve to get to this point. But proud of them."

The focus now turns their three Tests to end the year, beginning with another shot at the Kangaroos in Wollongong in five days' time.

Maguire will on Monday decide who will replace suspended front-rower Nelson Asofa-Solomona following his three-game ban for his Bali brawl.

However, one player who will make his return for the Kiwis in the Test arena is Isaako, who played two games for New Zealand last year.

The 23-year-old switched allegiances to Samoa for the mid-year Test to pay homage to his terminally ill father in Christchurch.

But with his dad unable to travel, Isaako has opted to again play the Kiwis, who meet Great Britain at AMI Stadium on November 9.

"(Jamayne) came into the squad 12 months ago and had an opportunity there, went away and wanted to work hard at his game," Maguire said.

"And you can definitely see that part of what he's done over the last 12 months.

"He's come back to the international level and I'm looking forward to seeing in a week's time to perform at the highest of levels."

Australian Associated Press