Kieran Foran eyes Kiwis return for Tonga test

Former New Zealand skipper Kieran Foran has put his hand up to represent the Kiwis again for their test against Tonga on June 22 in Auckland.

Foran hasn't pulled on the black jumper since the last Anzac Day test in 2017, having battled injury for the second half of last year.

The 28-year-old also missed five games earlier this season due to an ankle injury, but declared himself back to full strength after playing four-straight games.

"My body's starting to feel really good," said Foran.

"It's great to be playing week in, week out footy and not have any niggles and injuries at the moment. My ankle's feeling good. Physically, I feel really good."

Asked when the last time was he played without niggles, Foran said: "When I say no niggles, I've always got niggles.

"But it's nice just to be playing 80 minutes every week and backing up. That's what I'm challenging myself to do hopefully for the rest of the year."

A fit and healthy Foran might result in a call-up for the test in Auckland.

Kodi Nikorima and Shaun Johnson are the incumbents, although Johnson has been injured for the past six weeks with a hamstring issue.

He is expected to make his return for Cronulla on Thursday night against Canberra.

Another ex-captain in Benji Marshall, who plays under Kiwis coach Michael Maguire at the Wests Tigers, is another option.

While focused on his form with the Bulldogs, Foran insisted a burning desire remained to represent his country of birth.

"The flame's always burning deep inside. That never goes away. For a New Zealander, that's as good as it gets for us," he said.

"The desire's definitely there, and the hunger. But I've got to focus on what I'm doing here week to week."

The Bulldogs face the Dragons in their next NRL match on Monday night.