After grooming a ready-made Johnathan Thurston replacement at the Four Nations, Mal Meninga has called for more Kangaroos tours including a mid-year trip to New Zealand to build depth.
Meninga has backed either North Queensland's Michael Morgan or Cronulla playmaker James Maloney to fill Thurston's boots if the inspirational Test pivot does not overcome a calf injury for the May 5 trans-Tasman clash in Canberra.
Meninga said no one could replace Thurston but options created on their triumphant Four Nations tour at the end of last year ensured he was not reaching for the panic button.
'We are still hopeful John may be a chance of recovering in time but even if he doesn't make it we know we have the depth there to handle it,' Meninga told Former Origin Greats website.
'That's why taking a bigger squad to the Four Nations was so important, because we had time to bring new guys into the system, so we will be looking at the guys that did the job for us in the Four Nations.
'We know we have Michael Morgan and James Maloney who spent quality time in our system last year and have both played for Australia and know what is required.'
Meninga said the Four Nations squad would also produce a replacement for injured Test prop Matt Scott (knee), saying Wests Tigers skipper Aaron Woods, Canterbury's David Klemmer and Canberra giant Shannon Boyd were in the mix.
Meninga was confident that the Four Nations had ensured the Kangaroos' future was in safe hands despite Thurston tipped to retire from representative football next year and a question mark over half Cooper Cronk's Test future.
And he believed the depth created by the Four Nations was further proof that creating more Kangaroos tours should be a priority.
'I think it is important for the game itself at an international level that we are not only playing occasional Test matches but committing to extended tours where we are able to play mid-week games against club and lower level international teams,' he said.
'It gives our fringe Test players the chance to wear the Australian jersey and improve themselves as well.'
Meninga believed end-of-season Kangaroos tours or even mid-year trips to New Zealand would also help grow the international game.
'It is important that we take the Kangaroos brand and use it to spread the word about rugby league,' he said.
'That means taking it to the people of Leeds, Wigan and London but also France, Scotland and Ireland to increase awareness of our sport.
'But even in New Zealand we have work to do.
'It has been a long time since we played a Test there and even longer since the Kangaroos toured there for a three-match series.
'We have to make sure we are giving back to rugby league in New Zealand by playing rugby league Tests there on a regular basis.'