9 May 2014

Sport: RLIF says club v country battle still an issue for Pacific

10:30 am on 9 May 2014

The Rugby League International Federation says player availability is an ongoing issue for Pacific nations that could be improved by clearer lines of communication.

A handful of front-line players were ruled out of last weekend's Pacific Test between Fiji and Samoa through injury while Toa Samoa fullback Anthony Milford was instructed to play for the Queensland Under 20s, despite previously declaring himself available.

The RLIF's International Development Manager, Tas Batieri, says some NRL clubs remain reluctant to release players for game's that they think are of a lower standard.

"There are some frustrations and I think it comes back to contacting clubs earlier in the piece, educating them along the steps that we've taken to ensure that players are well taken care of, as if they were back in club land. Players that play in the Origin series are hardened and improved players because of the intensity that they've experienced and I believe this same intensity will arise also through the Pacific Test."

Tas Batieri says a strong international game is important for rugby league and some NRL clubs need to be made aware of the high level of professionalism surrounding the Pacific Test.