Parramatta stalwart Junior Paulo has opted to play for Samoa in the World Cup, becoming the latest player to fend off the Kangaroos.
The burly forward rower has never represented Australia but was considered a virtual certainty for selection for the tournament at the end of the year.
“It’s been hard, I’ve been torn between [the teams]“, he said on 9News.
READ MORE: Latrell’s big warning to the rest of the NRL
READ MORE: Payten’s moving tribute to Paul Green
READ MORE: ‘Ridiculous’ Kyrgios demolishes fellow Aussie ahead of US Open
It comes just a week after fellow Origin Josh Papalii was also voted for the blue jersey rather than the green and gold.
Like Papalii and others including Brian To’o, Paulo said the feelings that arose in him when he thought about playing for Samoa were just different.
“Gus Gould really hit the nail on the head when he said, ‘Which nation are you crying for when you sing the anthem?’
“That plays a big role for me, and for me is being proud of my home, and that’s Samoa,” he said.
According to the 28-year-old, he wants to repay the sacrifices made by generations before him that allowed him to succeed.
“I have my two grandmothers, who are both overseas and while they’re still alive I want to be able to make them proud.”
Stream the NRL Premiership 2022 live and for free on 9Now
And just like his elders set him up, he wants to motivate the next generation to follow in his footsteps.
Blues big bopper tried to take it off
“I want to be able to inspire the next kid who will come up through the ranks and be at home, or if they’re in the islands watching this World Cup thinking they want to be able to represent their country,” he said. he declares.
But one thing is certain: his decision will not change his desire to continue playing for New South Wales.
“I’m equally passionate about both shirts,” he said.
“One is just a darker shade of blue and the other is lighter.”
For a daily dose of the best news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by click here!
Paul Green’s life in pictures: From Sharks wonderkid to No. 1-winning coach