Queensland Reds halfback Tate McDermott has put his hand up for a Wallabies start but couldn't help his side to a win over the Hurricanes in their final Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash.
The speedy No.9 was among the Reds' best in their 43-14 loss at Sky Stadium in Wellington, staking a claim for the Test jersey for next month's series against France.
The Wallabies squad will be announced on Sunday with the first Test in Sydney on July 7.
The bonus-point win on Friday evening kept the Hurricanes in the hunt for an unlikely top-two finals berth, with that decider set for Saturday week.
Despite the scoreline, there was little to split the teams for much of the match, although the Reds were guilty of missed tackles and failed to make the most of their attacking opportunities.
The contest didn't get the tight finish it deserved with the Reds the victims of a bizarre second-half call by the referee James Doleman.
Trailing 22-14, Queensland's Bryce Hegarty and first-half tryscorer Ngani Laumape raced to the ball in the Reds' in-goal area.
The TMO and Doleman ruled that Hegarty deliberately knocked the ball dead rather than trying to ground it and awarded a penalty try as well as yellow-carding the five-eighth.
It turned the match and left commentators scratching their heads.
It was the second time the Reds were down to 14 with winger Filipo Daugunu given a suspect yellow card early in the second half for tackling from an offside position.
And both times the Hurricanes took advantage, with five-eighth Ruben Love and flanker Devan Flanders both crossing.
All Blacks hooker Dane Coles finished with two tries among haul of six and while Jordie Barrett didn't get across the line he surely cemented himself as the All Blacks starting fullback.
Super Rugby AU champions the Reds finished with a 1-4 record in the Trans-Tasman competition.
Reds skipper Liam Wright took the high road, blaming Friday's defeat on their slow start and errors.
"We took too long to build into the game and were chasing our tails there but we put some really good phases together and I thought our first 20 minutes after halftime was some of the best footy we played in this Trans-Tasman comp," Wright told Stan Sport.
"We didn't execute on it and the Hurricanes made us pay for simple errors.
"This competition is a step up and we will be better for it and we've learnt a lot of lessons from it and we're going to try to adapt as quickly as we can."
The Reds were down 10-7 at halftime, with McDermott scoring their only try when the Hurricanes were also short with prop Tyrel Lomax yellow-carded after his shoulder hit Taniela Tupou high.
Collecting the ball from the back of the scrum, McDermott darted across the line untouched in the 27th minute.
Laumape had opened the scoring in the fourth minute.
Australian Associated Press