The Kiwis' most experienced rugby league player, Simon Mannering, has been ruled out of the Four Nations series in England.
Mannering, who's played 41 Tests for New Zealand, has been unable to fully recover from minor knee surgery in time for the series.
The former Kiwis captain missed the one-off Test against Australia in Perth last weekend to give him an extra week to recuperate, but the team doctor Greg Macleod said it wasn't enough.
"He's up and running, but his knee isn't game ready," Macleod said.
"We have maintained regular contact with the New Zealand Warriors medical staff and we were optimistic that Simon would be ready for the tour. It turns out he needs a bit more time to make a full recovery."
Penrith Panthers forward James Fisher-Hariis will replace him in the squad, which assembles in Auckland tomorrow to leave for the United Kingdom.
Kiwis coach David Kidwell said while Mannering is a big loss, he is excited to have Fisher-Harris in the team.
"He was really high on our list for the initial squad, but narrowly missed out. We are fortunate to have this calibre of player to call on.
"Simon is a big loss for us. His leadership, experience and work ethic are really valuable, but I'm confident in my senior playing group to demonstrate those characteristics, on and off the field."
Their first Test is against England on October 30.