'Semi doing his homeland proud'
He is wrestling with a representative conundrum of his own but Titans winger David Mead believes there will be widespread support in Fiji regarding Semi Radradra's selection in the Kangaroos team to play the Kiwis next week in Newcastle.
A Papua New Guinea international who has played for Country the past two years, Mead told NRL.com he would be happy to play wherever he is picked but conceded his heart lies with the Kumuls.
The Kumuls will play a Fiji team next week without Radradra's imposing presence on the wing but Mead believes the Eels winger's selection in the Australian national team will be well received back in Fiji.
"Many people will say he's neglecting his country or whatever but I think it's the opposite," Mead said.
"I think they'd have more support than anything else towards him because he is someone who is from there and is striving to be the best he can be and testing himself at the highest level.
"For someone like him he's definitely going to get a lot of support from Fiji."
Radradra's father, Samisoni Waqavatu, told the Fiji Times the family was ecstatic with his selection and relayed the difference his rugby league career has had on their simple ability to survive.
"God has blessed us through Semi. Last year he built us a big home worth more than $100,000 and his gift to us his parents last Christmas was a brand new four-wheel-drive worth $85,000," Waqatavu told the Fiji Times.
"He told us to use it when we go to the hospital because I am sickly and to take his siblings to school when it rains.
"We were safe during Cyclone Winston inside the house he built for us. I thank God for my son and I wish him well on his rugby career."
Despite his desire to play for PNG when they host a match of next year's World Cup, Mead conceded that if New South Wales Origin coach Laurie Daley was to come calling he would join the likes of Adrian Lam and walk away from the Kumuls.
The Kumuls will play Fiji at Parramatta Stadium next Saturday while Country host City at Tamworth's Scully Park on Sunday afternoon, with Mead awaiting the selection of both teams to know where he will be playing.
"That's the ultimate dream, playing at that level," Mead said of an Origin call-up. "It would be a lot easier playing Origin because I know how much people in PNG love the Origin anyway and any player that chooses to play in that game PNG people will support that team.
"You get a PNG player playing for either Queensland or NSW, the majority of PNG will go for whatever team because he's someone from there playing for them."
Unsure of how his eligibility would be affected by playing for Country less than 18 months out from the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, Mead was relieved to hear his international allegiances remained tied to PNG, whether he represents Country next weekend or not.
"PNG would love to have me there so that might be where my heart goes, just for next weekend, if there's no eligibility interruptions moving forward," said the 27-year-old who was one of the best players on the park in his Country debut in Dubbo in 2014.
"My heart is always there with PNG, being from there and living for 12 years there. I know how much people love their rugby league up there so if that wasn't to affect anything moving forward then I'd like to go with them.
"It's hard in the sense of having to choose but it's not that hard because at least you get to play football that weekend. That's a positive, being considered for both.
"Picking who you want to play for is always a little bit tough but my heart's always with PNG."
This story first appeared on nrl.com.au