Nine debutants have been selected in the Cook Islands rugby league team that returns from the international wilderness to face South Africa in a World Cup qualifying match on Friday.
The 18-man squad will assemble in Sydney on Tuesday and includes a mix of players with experience at NRL clubs and playing regularly in the Queensland and New South Wales Cup competitions.
The Kukis missed out on the 2017 World Cup after losing to Tonga in a playoff and haven't played an international match since a 32-22 defeat by Papua New Guinea two years ago.
Head coach Tony Iro admits getting regular matches is always a challenge.
"That's been the issue for us," he said. "We've got the capability of putting together a really strong squad but at the moment being down there we are sort of the odd one out when it comes to securing fixtures. We want to play against the best teams but with the current state of the game and the countries down here - I think there's seven of us and seven doesn't fit when you want to get a game of footy a lot of the time."
Parramatta Eels utility Brad Takairangi will captain the side in his first appearance for the Kukis since the 2013 World Cup and Iro said the former Kiwis international's leadership will be important in such a young team.
"He's obviously the most experienced player that we've got," he said. "He's played a couple of games for the Kukus - in our last game against PNG he was injured but spent the week in camp. He's a positive guy to have around and a lot of what he does on Friday will determine our fortunes.
"I know he's pretty passionate about the Cook Islands tean and he wants us to do well so he will be the man."
In-form Canberra Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad will also don the green jersey once again after setting the NRL alight following his move to the Australian capital.
"He obviously had limited opportunities with Roger (Tuivasa Sheck) being at the back at the Warriors but it's a real good pointer to kids out there that sometimes they just need the opportunity and when they get it they've just got to grab hold of it," said Iro, who worked with the 23 year old during his two years spell at the Warriors.
"Charnze has always been one of the better trainers, he prepares himself well and he's deserved all the success that he's had this year at Canberra. He's a great kid, his attitude his infectious and we're going to need that when the boys come together."
The winner of Friday night's test in Wentworthville, Sydney will play-off against the United States for a berth at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
"Obviously the big challenge for us is to re-establish ourselves in the World Cup and we know South Africa's going to be a challenge," explained Iro. "We've just got to make sure we get over this hurdle and if we can get through that and then hopefully another game of footy at the end of the year we might be able to establish a calendar for ourselves in terms of regular games."
Cook Islands squad:
Sam Mataora, Eric Newbigging, Troy Dargan, Charnze Nicol-Klokstad, Reuben Porter, Eli Noovao, Aaron Teroi, John Puna, Reuben Rennie, Vincent Rennie, Moses Noovao-Mcgreal, Pride Petterson-Robati, Paul Ulberg, Kayal Iro, Brodie Tamarua, Tepa Moeroai, Marata Niukore, Brad Takairangi (c), Steven Marsters, Josh Minhinnick