Wests Tigers have left Ryan McGoldrick out of their squad for a warm-up match ahead of next month's World Club Challenge against the Bradford Bulls.
McGoldrick also had a spell in rugby union with the Waratahs
McGoldrick is currently the subject of a tug of war between Wests and Super League side Castleford Tigers.
Both clubs insist they have tied the 24-year-old centre to a 12-month deal.
Injured New Zealand stars Benji Marshall and Dene Halatau were the other notable absentees from Wests 21-strong squad.
Marshall and Halatau both underwent shoulder surgery following their 2005 NRL Premiership success and missed the Kiwis' Tri-Nations triumph.
Coach Tim Sheens' trial squad includes the club's other close-season recruits, prop Ryan O'Hara, former Cronulla player Keith Galloway, ex-Bulldogs three-quarter Jamaal Lolesi and former Manly back rower Sam Harris.
Wests face a representative side at Gunnedah on 27 January before their clash against the Bradford Bulls at Huddersfield's Galpharm Stadium on 3 February.
But Wests recruitment manager Warren McDonnell said McGoldrick could still be considered for the game against the Super League champions.
"There is nothing sinister about McGoldrick not being there. He's definitely has a chance of playing," said McDonnell.
"We are only taking 18 to England and, if McGoldrick keeps impressing at training, and if he's still here, he will certainly be considered."
Castleford remain confident of McGoldrick lining out for the club this season.
"We're leaving it in Ryan's hands. If he can't obtain a release, we will look elsewhere, but Ryan still wants to come to us," said Cas chief Richard Wright.
Castleford claim they are innocent victims of a misunderstanding and are unlikely to agree to pay compensation for McGoldrick.