SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Daniel Tupou of the Roosters is tackled by Ben Hunt of the Dragons during the round 7 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the St George Illawarra Dragons at the Sydney Cricket Ground on April 25, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

International rugby league on the same weekend as Game 2 of the 2022 State of Origin series could wreak havoc on the NSW Blues, with reports that incumbent winger Daniel Tupou and boom second rower Haumole Olakau'atu are both set to commit to Tonga.

Tonga, who have become the best team outside of the big three (Australia, New Zealand and England) on the path of leading the sport's emergence in the Pacific Islands, will play New Zealand in Auckland on the Saturday of the NRL's representative round.

It will be the first game in New Zealand since March 2020, when coronavirus forced the New Zealand Warriors to relocate to Australia, and put a halt to all international games involving teams on this side of the world.

The Kiwis and Tonga facing off will form an important step on the road to the 2022 Rugby League World Cup in England at the end of the year. The tournament, which was supposed to be played at the back end of last year, was postponed following Australia and New Zealand withdrawing over coronavirus and workload concerns, with all NRL players having been in a bubble in Queensland for the second half of the 2021 NRL season.

That doesn't mean the passion to play for the Island nations has been lost on players, with The Daily Telegraph reporting that both Tupou and Olakau'atu are seriously considering abandoning Brad Fittler's Blues' side for the must-win Game 2 in Perth after New South Wales lost the first game in Sydney to the Maroons 16 points to 10.

NRL Qualifying Final - Storm v Sea Eagles
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Haumole Olakau'atu of the Sea Eagles is tackled during the NRL Qualifying Final between the Melbourne Storm and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at Sunshine Coast Stadium on September 10, 2021, in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Tupou, who played Game 1, knocked Josh Addo-Carr out of the winning side from last year in a change which drew widespread criticism.

Olakau'atu, on the other hand, was an unlucky name to not be called on for Game 1 given his form for the Sea Eagles, which has set the competition alight.

With Tariq Sims underperforming in Game 1 and questions persisting around the make-up of the Blues' bench with Cameron Murray likely to start, as well as Liam Martin's issues playing 80 minutes, it's thought Olakau'atu was likely to be drafted into the squad.

Fittler has previously spoken out suggesting he will have no problem if players want to abandon the Blues for Game 2, and has now told News Corp that he assumed players may want to play for Tonga, but will discuss it during the week.

“I assumed originally he might want to play for Tonga,” Fittler told The Daily Telegraph.

“I haven’t broached the subject with him at all. He’s had a big few days so we’ll have a yarn during the week.”

Kotoni Staggs is also eligible for Tonga, while Brian To'o, Jarome Luai, Junior Paulo and Stephen Crichton are all available for Samoa, who play Fiji on the same day at Campbelltown.

Queensland's only players who could opt out are Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Josh Papalii & Felise Kaufusi (all Samoa), while Murray Taulagi and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow are also eligible should they be called into Queensland's 17 and wish to represent Samoa.