New Zealand veteran Benji Marshall has stamped Jason Taumalolo as "disrespectful" following his shock decision to withdraw himself from the Kiwis squad to join Tonga.
Tonga coach Kristian Woolf believes it was a 'brave' decision, one that will lay the platform for other players to put their allegiances ahead of money.
"It's just a bit disrespectful to the jersey when you've been part of the team for a certain amount of time," playmaker Marshall told Radio Sport NZ.
"If you really think that, the decision could have been made seven or eight weeks ago."
The sacrifice Taumalolo made is significant, resulting in a significant loss of money.
"He's obviously sacrificing a lot," Woolf said.
"You're not comparing apples with apples when you're talking about the benefits of playing for a tier-one nation compared to a tier-two nation.
"One group of nations are looked after a hell of a lot better than the other."
To put it in perspective, Kiwi players who participate in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup receive $50,000, whilst Tonga players receive a small amount of $3000.
Taumalolo declared in a statement on Wednesday, his rising ambition to develop rugby league in the Polynesian nation.
Woolf said it was a monumental decision which will influence other players to play for their allegiances rather than Australia or New Zealand.
"That's why I think it is such a brave step, him being the first to really do that and lay a platform; to say that it is OK to sacrifice other things and play for a team that in your heart you know you want to play for," Woolf said.
"He's the best forward in the game at the moment so for him to make the jump while he is in such a position in his career says a lot about his character."