Canterbury Bulldogs rising star Karl Oloapu has been ruled out of the Pacific Championship for Samoa, with his replacement set to be announced in the coming days.

The 18-year-old made his NRL debut in 2023 before playing a further seven matches for the Bulldogs during the home-and-away season.

News Corp understands that Oloapu has been plagued by a neck injury for the majority of the 2023 season and has opted to rest rather than compete for the Samoan national team during the Pacific Championship.

It is understood his replacement will be named by coach Ben Gardiner in the coming days. However, no player has emerged as the frontrunner to replace him.

Karl Oloapu entered the Bulldogs squad after they paid $500,000 to the Brisbane Broncos for his signing and has been a sensation in the halves while also being named in the U18s Queensland Emerging Origin squad.

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In what is new coach Ben Gardiner's first squad for the island nation, Samoa will be attempting to replicate their World Cup success, where they made the final for the first time.

The big blow for Samoa is the loss of Jarome Luai, who is out with injury after re-aggravating his shoulder issue during the grand final.

World Cup fullback Joesph Suaalii will also be unavailable due to a series of concussion he endured at the backed of the 2023 season.

“He's unavailable. I had a discussion with the Roosters a few weeks ago... It's concussion protocol. I don't want to go too much into it because I'm not privy to that information,” Gardner said via The Daily Telegraph.

“But with the concussions he had at the end of the year, he's unavailable for the Tests matches because of those protocols.”

Samoan tri-series squad

Jesse Arthars (Brisbane Broncos)
Daejarn Asi (Parramatta Eels)
Gordon Chan Kum Tong (Manly Sea Eagles)
Stephen Crichton (Penrith Panthers)
Sua Fa'alogo (Melbourne Storm)
Royce Hunt (Cronulla Sharks)
Luciano Leilua (North Queensland Cowboys)
Connelly Lemuelu (Dolphins)
Spencer Leniu (Penrith Panthers)
Heilum Luki (North Queensland Cowboys)
Greg Marzhew (Newcastle Knights)
Justin Matamua (Wests Tigers)
Terrell May (Sydney Roosters)
Karl Oloapu (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Keenan Palasia (Brisbane Broncos)
Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels)
Izack Tago (Penrith Panthers)
Young Tonumaipea (Melbourne Storm)
Brian To'o (Penrith Panthers)
Stefano Utoikamanu (Wests Tigers)


Saturday, October 14: Australia vs Samoa at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville, 8:10pm
Saturday, October 21: New Zealand vs Samoa at Eden Park, Auckland, 4:00pm
Saturday, October 28: Australia vs New Zealand at AAMI Park, Melbourne, 8:10pm
Saturday, November 4: Final at FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, 3pm

All times AEDT.