Mal Meninga says Billy Slater has not played his last game for Australia, despite overlooking the Melbourne Storm full-back for the Test against New Zealand next Friday.
Slater has made up for lost time since making a long-awaited return from injury last month, catching the eye with some lively displays for the NRL leaders.
There was no place for the 33-year-old in a 20-man squad for the ANZAC Test against the Kiwis, though, as Meninga kept the faith with Brisbane Broncos captain Darius Boyd.
Kangaroos coach Meninga still sees a future for Slater at international level despite his omission.
"I certainly do [see him playing for Australia again]," Meninga said.
"He's getting back somewhere near his best form. He's come back from injury extremely well and it's very pleasing to see him back in the game.
"This Test match was picked based on our loyalty and their success in the Four Nations and the way that they've played at the beginning of the year.
"It doesn't mean to say that we'll be true to this at the back end of the year when we get through the season, finals footy and Origin football. That'll become part of the criteria when we pick the World Cup squad at the end of the year.
"We agonised over it all. We felt that Darius deserved to retain his spot. He was man of the match in the Four Nations final in Liverpool and he's in great form at the moment so we chose to go that way."