Dragons centre Charly Runciman believes an edge in NRL experience will help the Junior Kangaroos when they clash with the Junior Kiwis at WIN Jubilee Oval tomorrow.
Runciman, Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma and Parramatta pair Junior Paulo and Vai Toutai all made their NRL debuts this year but will face a New Zealand side boasting 11 players that contested the NYC under 20s grand final last weekend.
"Some of the boys have a bit more NRL experience and the boys who haven't quite played NRL are right on the edge of playing it so that will help us a lot going into this game," Runciman said.
"They [New Zealand] can be tough to handle. I don't particularly know too much about them but we're expecting a big tough footy side that's going to be very physical and offload the ball a lot.
"It's up to us to try and nail that down and make sure we're physical with them."
The Kangaroos have spent the week in camp in Wollongong ahead of the match and Runciman said strong combinations have been formed despite the limited preparation.
"It can be tough," he said.
"We've got pretty short period of time to learn about each other and build some combinations but we've all bonded pretty well.
"We're all learning the plays and it helps that we've got the best blokes in the country at what they do."
Junior Kangaroos selection caps a strong season for the 20-year-old in which he was named at centre in the NYC Team of the Year and broke into the top grade with the Dragons for the final six games of the NRL season.
"Personally I thought it was a pretty good year for me and I suppose making this Australian team is a bit of icing on the cake," he said.
"For the team [Dragons] it was a little bit disappointing how the season went but it's probably what needed to happen for me to get my opportunity.
"They had to blood a couple of younger guys sooner than they probably would have liked but people like myself, Adam Quinlan, Craig Garvey got to get some experience and I think we'll be better off for that next year."
A brilliant try to seal victory in the Dragons round 26 match against the Warriors gave Dragons fans a glimpse of his capabilities, but Runciman said consistency will be the key to his NRL future.
"I think I showed a bit in patches," he said.
"There was a couple of games where I wasn't really happy with my performance and then there were some where I was.
"It comes down to having more of those games where I am happy and that's got to be week in week out otherwise you're not a first-grade footballer.
"That'll be my goal next year"
Widely touted as the man to fill the number four jersey vacated by Matt Cooper, Runciman will face tough competition from Souths recruit Dylan Farrell as well as teammates Gerard Beale and Daniel Vidot to cement a Dragons centre spot next year.