Incumbent New Zealand centre Esan Marsters is likely to miss his country's upcoming Test campaign after undergoing minor ankle surgery.
The powerful Wests Tigers player was hampered by a right ankle injury for the majority of the NRL season and recently had a cleanout.
The 23-year-old said he was "gutted" about the prospect of sitting out the inaugural World Cup Nines later this month as well as the Tran-Tasman Test against Australia and two clashes with Great Britain.
"I'm pretty sad but it's going to help me in the long run with my ankle," Marsters told NRL.com at Fan Fest on Thursday.
"I'll just try to get that right for the off-season and hopefully I can have another good pre-season. It's just a bit hard because the injury I had was troubling me all year.
"Hopefully it should be ready by round one next year. It's just something that I needed to get done. For myself, hopefully [it means] playing better footy next year and being a bit more consistent."
Meanwhile, Marsters's Tigers teammate Paul Momirovski will make his senior representative debut when he plays for the Prime Minister's XIII team against Fiji in Suva on October 11.
After struggling for first-grade chances to begin the year, Momirovski forced his way into the side and established himself in the final eight games of the season.
"I think I definitely took a leap in my career. Obviously getting more game time always helps," Momirovski told NRL.com.
"I'm very happy with how this year went. Obviously as a team we would have liked to make the finals [but] I'm confident in where we're heading."
Having played juniors with the Roosters before debuting in the NRL for the club last season, Momirovski still has mates that will face Canberra in the grand final at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
"I've just been casually [talking to them], not too much. There's a few boys I'm close with," Momirovski said.
"I just try to let them do their thing. I don't want to hassle them too much, I'm sure they're getting a million messages."
Both Marsters and Momirovski cheerfully signed autographs and took pictures with supporters during their Fan Fest appearance alongside Josh Reynolds and Thomas Mikaele at Sydney's Martin Place.
"It's good – I remember myself being a fan of the game and all the kids here are excited," said Momirovski.
"It's good to see some of the NRL players floating around. I'm always happy to come out to places like this."
Added Marsters: "It just goes to show that we do have a lot of people that really support us and enjoy watching us play.
"It's a really good day for us boys because we really get to see a lot of fans that are excited about what we do ... It shows the impact we have."