DARWIN, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 17: The Samoan team perform their haka during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final match between Australia and Samoa at Darwin Stadium on November 17, 2017 in Darwin, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
While the majority of non-Tier One nations are scrambling to secure
NRL talent for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup, Samoa have a different sort of selection headache on their hands.
The Pacific nation has secured a host of
NRL talent heading into the tournament, and look set to feature an all-Penrith backline and a forward pack jam-packed with Origin stars.
Having secured a host of former and current State of Origin players including
Junior Paulo, Josh Papali'i, Jaydn Su'A and Francis Molo, but the real spot for competition is in the backline.
The nation is toying with a complete Penrith backline as well as the club's backline, though a host of other names could upset the combinations.
Charlie Staines is expected to play fullback with Brian To'o and Taylan May lining the flanks while Izack Tago and Stephen Crichton resume their clubland combos with their outside men in the centres. Jarome Luai will be running the show at five-eighth.
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 26: Brian To’o of the Blues (R) celebrates with Jarome Luai (L) after scoring a try during game two of the State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Optus Stadium, on June 26, 2022, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Don't be surprised to see a few other name's slip in and out of the backline throughout the tournament, though.
David Nofoaluma is one of the most experienced backs in the side, and after notching a whopping four tries back in the mid-season test against the Cook Islands, it's going to be very hard to deny the finals-bound winger a spot.
Factor in Grand Finalist
Jaxson Paulo, who played centre in that mid-season test and Mathew Feagai, who was 18th man for the match, and you've got some real healthy competition for spots.
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Murray Taulagi are eligible for both Samoa and Australia, with the Maroons pair yet to announce their allegiance ahead of the imminently-approaching World Cup, as is Joseph Suaalii who is firming for a green and gold jersey.
While preliminary squads are slowly being announced, head coach
Matt Parish is expected to name his finalised 24-man World Cup squad shortly after the completion of the NRL season.