Tonga rugby league coach Kristian Woolf says the newly announced Oceania Cup is exactly what the international game needed.
Mate Ma'a Tonga will go head to head with Australia and New Zealand next year in the competition's top tier, with Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea contesting the other group.
Kristian Woolf said a guaranteed slate of top level test matches gives the Pacific Island teams certainty and something to look forward to.
"The organisation and having something that's planned and something that's to plan for in the future is a real positive," he said.
"But also the games that have been put in place and what sort of opportunity and occasion they're going to create is a real big one as well so we're very happy with what's been put forward at the moment and we certainly support it."
Kristian Woolf said previously Tonga was always wondering when their next test match would be so to have a long-term programme is a game-changer both on and off the field.
"We've never had a format where we can look at future games and know what's locked in for us," he said.
"If over the next couple of years if we've got an international calendar that's mapped out, it says exactly who we're playing and a general idea of where and when those games are going to be that means that we've actually got something to sell and something that's going to help us be financially viable going forward.
Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea will have the chance to dine at the Oceania Cup's top table in future years, with the highest placed finisher to be promoted to the top tier in 2020.
Kristian Woolf said Australia, New Zealand and Tonga deserve their place in the top division next year, based on their performances over the last two years, but said Toa Samoa, the Fiji Bati and PNG Kumuls were not far behind their regional rivals.
"In 2020 the idea is that one of those nations will come up and join Tonga and New Zealand in a three-way [pool] and that allows for a fifth Pacific Island nation to come in and join whoever's left out of the two in the other pool so it's a fluid sort of competition where it's not set in stone you've got the same three teams playing each other each year."
Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea and New Zealand are also poised to play against the touring Great Britain Rugby League Lions in 2019 while Australia is slated to host the inaugural International Nines World Cup at the end of the year.
Kristian Woolf welcomed both opportunities but said the game also has to be careful in managing concerns around player welfare.
"We're using the best players that are involved in their clubs games for the NRL or the Super League and if we start trying to play any more than two or three games in most years we're not going to get the support of the clubs but also we start increasing the player workload and the risk of injury as a result of that and also the player fatigue," he said.