North Queensland Cowboys winger Murray Taulagi has opened up on why he's bucking the trend of players opting to represent Pacific Island nations and sticking with Mal Meninga's Kangaroos team.
Taulagi was selected for the Australian team this week, deciding not to follow the likes of Junior Paulo, Brian To'o and Joseph Suaali'i and represent Samoa.
The Cowboys winger admits the decision was presented to him and he came close and had even spoken to Samoan coach Matt Parrish – but when he received a call from Mal Meninga the offer proved too good to resist.
“You get a big nervous (talking to him), him being Big Mal is just nerve-wracking,” Taulagi admitted to AAP.
“(Matt Parish) called me earlier on and I said I'd be keen.
“But Australia came knocking and I said that's where my preference would be. Matt understood that as well.
“I didn't think the opportunity to play for Australia would come around again, so I wanted to give back because this country has done a lot for me.”
Taulagi, who'll be joined in the Kangaroos squad by Cowboys teammate and eligible Samoan Jeremiah Nanai, said he had consulted his family about the issue as the date drew nearer.
They'll also be accompanied by fellow Cowboys Reuben Cotter and Valentine Holmes after a fantastic season that saw the Townsville side go all the way through the preliminary final.
Taulagi thinks the incredible season and tight bond amongst the small group will serve them well in England.
“We've got a good crew going over there,” Taulagi said.
“We're all very close together at the Cows and I'm very excited to be alongside them.”