CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 29: Jason Taumalolo of Tonga looks on during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup match between Scotland and Tonga at Barlow Park on October 29, 2017 in Cairns, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The NRL Infinite Files – World Cup Edition

Selfless act to expand the international game

Jason Taumalolo proved money isn’t everything when he decided to play for Tonga (a second-tier nation) over New Zealand (ranked number two in the world) in the 2017 World Cup.

Taumalolo’s defection to Tonga is only a good thing for the international game of Rugby League.

An athlete of his stature can only inspire younger players to choose to play for their country of birth, rather than chase the money on offer from Australia, New Zealand and England.

Should he stay, or should he go?

In 2016, Mitchell Pearce derailed the Sydney Roosters campaign with his abhorrent behaviour during Australia Day festivities.

He should be grateful the club stood by him and it’s now his turn to repay his employer.

Rather than sulk, embrace the opportunity to play alongside and learn from the world’s best halfback and you will be all the better for it once Cooper Cronk retires, Mitchell.

NRL clubs circle Englishman

Two months ago, NRL Infinite reported that the North Queensland Cowboys and St George Illawarra Dragons had interest in signing St Helens prop Alex Walmsley.

At the time, many were calling him a future international – fast forward three months and he’s making his debut for England this weekend. We can now reveal Cowboys have dropped out of the race to sign Walmsley with the Dragons remaining favourites for his signature.

In unfortunate news for Dragons fans though, Walmsley is not signed, sealed and delivered as of yet. In recent weeks, three other teams have joined in on the chase.

These clubs are the Parramatta Eels, Newcastle Knights and Wests Tigers.

Can anyone but Australia win the World Cup?

The short answer is no. The long answer is complicated.

We saw England test the Kangaroos for the first 55 minutes of the contest last week, but once again unravelled in the final 20 minutes.

New Zealand put in their first decent performance as a football side under new coach David Kidwell, but I still see them as no threat.

This leaves Tonga. The underdogs.

Can Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita lead this group of young men to an upset victory? I think not but stranger things have happened in the world of Rugby League.