Coach Tim Sheens has made five changes to the side that beat the Kiwis 18-10 in Townsville last October, with Kangaroos regulars Justin Hodges, Luke Lewis, Anthony Watmough and Sam Thaiday all returning from injury.
Canterbury duo Josh Morris and Tony Williams and Melbourne's former Wigan second rower Ryan Hoffman make way, while Canberra prop David Shillington is injured and Gidley's versatility earns him a spot on the bench ahead of hooker Robbie Farah.
Gidley's last game for the Kangaroos was in their 2010 Four Nations final defeat by the Kiwis at Suncorp Stadium. A dislocated left shoulder forced him to miss most of the 2012 season.
The match should prove to be a good testing ground for both teams with the World Cup in England and Wales looming at the end of the season.
Australia: B Slater (Melbourne); D Boyd(Newcastle), G Inglis (South Sydney), J Hodges (Brisbane), B Morris (St George Illawarra); J Thurston (North Queensland), C Cronk (Melbourne); M Scott (North Queensland), C Smith (Melbourne, capt), J Tamou(North Queensland), G Bird (Gold Coast), S Thaiday (Brisbane), P Gallen (Cronulla). Replacements: K Gidley (Newcastle), L Lewis (Cronulla), N Myles(Gold Coast), A Watmough (Manly).