AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 09: Kiwis coach Michael Maguire (R) and captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (L) during a New Zealand Kiwis press conference at Mt Smart Stadium on October 9, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

New Zealand Warriors star winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is reportedly weighing up a switch in international allegiances after it has been confirmed he will not represent New Zealand in the Pacific Championships.

The 2023 Dally M Winger of the Year is coming off his best season to date, recording 24 tries in 20 games and seeing the Warriors make the preliminary final - 80 minutes away from reaching their third-ever NRL Grand Final.

However, New Zealand Rugby League Chief Executive Greg Peters has confirmed to Newshub that Watene-Zelezniak will not take the field for the Pacific Championships.

This is due to two reasons.

The first will see the winger require minor surgery in the hope of returning to full fitness by the time pre-season training begins for the 2024 season. The second is that he could remain on the field but represent Mate Ma'a Tonga instead, with Peters confirming both options are viable.

"He's a wonderful bloke," Peters told Newshub.

"That's one of the wonderful things about rugby league.

"Players will make their decisions, factoring in their family links, culture and things they should be considering.

"Dallin is at that stage where he wants to pursue that, and we respect that."

Watene-Zelezniak is eligible to represent Tonga through his grandmother, however he has already represented the New Zealand Kiwis in 13 tests between 2016-2022. This includes captaining the team for their end-of-year tour to England in 2018.

It has been reported that New Zealand Rugby League will name their squad for the Pacific Championship later this week after Australia and Samoa both named their squads on Tuesday.

NRL Rd 1 - Warriors v Dragons
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak of the Warriors is congratulated by team mates after scoring a try during the round one NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Sunshine Coast Stadium, on March 12, 2022, in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)