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Matured JWH over the moon with Kiwi recall

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/09/2016 Angelo Risso

© Mark Kolbe/Getty Images Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves says the very thought of pulling on the Kiwi jumper again gives him goosebumps.

The 27-year-old prop has been recalled to the New Zealand fold for the first time in three years in coach Stephen Kearney's Four Nations train-on squad.

Waerea-Hargreaves made 17 appearances for his country to 2013 but has been overlooked since their 34-2 thrashing by Australia in that year's World Cup final.

The bullish forward was frequently overlooked for players such as Kenny Bromwich, Greg Eastwood and club teammate Sam Moa.

But Waerea-Hargreaves was named on Wednesday among 23 players from clubs who missed the NRL finals series, with another 13 players to join the group after their elimination.

Kearney will then whittle his final squad to 24 after the NRL grand final.

"It's quite emotional, to be honest," Waerea-Hargreaves said.

"I'm a very proud man and it's been a while, and I'm super excited to even be in the mix again."

Waerea-Hargreaves was in career-best form at the back end of 2015 but was struck down by an ACL injury just before the finals series.

He returned to make 14 appearances for the Roosters in 2016, running almost 1700 metres with the ball and making 375 tackles.

Kearney liked what he saw from the big-hitting front rower.

"His form has been pretty good in the last month," Kearney said.

"I thought if he hadn't been injured last year, he was in the best form of his career (and) there was a good chance he'd have been selected."

Waerea-Hargreaves' aggression on the field is renowned but the Rotorua-born prop said he'd been working on using his energy in the right way.

Fatherhood had aided that process, he said, as had the ACL injury.

He would now use the following four weeks to mentally freshen up before the Four Nations squad is selected.

"In the last 12 months I've learned a lot and made more of a conscious effort to be more of a professional athlete," Waerea-Hargreaves said.

"I've given my all to get back to where I know I'm capable of playing."

The Roosters endured a disappointing 2016 campaign, finishing second last after winning just one of their first eight games.

The club also had to deal with off-field dramas surrounding halfback Mitchell Pearce and winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

Waerea-Hargreaves was optimistic the Roosters would bounce back in 2017.

"As a club we played our best footy towards the back end of the season," he said.

"Every single player (is) excited to start a new season and kick on."

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