"I feel very lucky and privileged"
He has spent the past 11 months working alongside them only to fall at the final hurdle but New Zealand back-rower Tohu Harris says there is still something "surreal" about lining up opposite Storm teammates Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.
Harris was named in the Kiwi back row for Saturday night's Test in Perth by new coach David Kidwell while Smith will captain the Kangaroos for the 22nd time and Cronk will play the 29th Test of his career.
It was only 10 days ago that Harris, Kevin Proctor and Jesse Bromwich shared the anguish of a grand final defeat with Smith and Cronk yet club ties must be put to one side now that they have all stepped into the realm of international footy.
Harris will line up against Smith, Cronk and the rest of the Kangaroos for the seventh time on Saturday night and although he is better at managing his emotions, he admits that it is strange to face off against his Storm teammates.
"I've been lucky enough to play against them a few times now but I still find it a bit odd I guess and still a little bit in awe of them," Harris admitted.
"They're great players and I feel very lucky and privileged to play alongside them but when you see them across the other side of the field and in that green and gold jersey it's a little bit surreal.
"It's something that I look forward to every single time and feel very lucky to be in the position that I am and playing against them."
While it may have affected his performances in the past, the 24-year-old insists that after 11 Test matches he is now able to move past club loyalties and contribute positively to the Kiwi cause.
"At the end of the day they're wearing a green and gold jersey, you can't focus too much on who's wearing it," he said.
"They're obviously great players but you can't sit and dwell on that otherwise they'll run circles around you.
"You've got to move past that and play your role and do your job. If you're dwelling on that you're taking that away from your job.
"It's something that I've been able to get past but when you think about it during the week it does feel a bit funny."
The scenario is even stranger for Kiwis captain Jesse Bromwich who will face up to his captain at the Storm as equals on Saturday night.
Bromwich captained New Zealand for the first time in their 16-0 loss to the Kangaroos in Newcastle in May but Harris says that his leadership style is very similar to what he brings on a weekly basis at the Storm.
"He's handling it really well. He's obviously an experienced part of the team and a senior player at club level and he's taken the captaincy on board and stepping up where the team needs him to," Harris said.
"He's got a good support cast with the leaders around him and he's handling it really well.
"He doesn't change a whole lot, and he doesn't really need to change a whole lot. That's why he has got the role.
"Over the last couple of years he's stepped up vocally in club and in the Kiwis environment but he doesn't really need to change much because that's what got him the role and why the boys really respect him.
"Getting to play with him at club level and him being my captain at this level, I'm personally really proud of him and love having him as captain."