The $9500 pay gap cruelling rugby league World Cup
HERE'S the scenario.
You can get paid $10,000 per game with the very real chance of advancing through the finals for a potential pay of near $50,000 or ignore the money and play for $500 a game.
What do you do?
It was just a few months ago Andrew Fifita was scheduled to run out for Tonga in the Pacific Test before being drafted into the Australian side to face New Zealand.
"For him to get called into the Australian side late hurt us," Tongan forward Siosaia Vave said of his country's greatest challenge ahead of the Rugby League World Cup.
"He was named to play and a few injuries came through (Kangaroos camp) and he got picked. He's got a mortgage to pay, he's got to look after his family and 30 grand is not going to go astray for him.
"I don't hold a grudge against Fifita because he's a mate of mine.
"That's the kind of hardship Tonga rugby league has to deal with."
With top shelf players such as Michael Jennings, Manu Ma'u and Andrew Fifita available to play for the country, so often the top tier nations have selected those men in their squads and hurt the second tier nation in the process.
Vave fears that this will continue to happen as long as the pay divide is great.
With the World Cup set to carry squads of 25 men, the second tier nations like Tonga could be decimated.
The likes of David Fusitu'a and Konrad Hurrell have been in fine form this season and eligible for New Zealand.
While Vave says he couldn't begrudge a teammate for chasing the bigger money, it leaves his team at a great disadvantage.
"Hopefully the boys don't get poached," Vave said.
"We lost a few blokes from the last World Cup. It's part of the footy at the moment and we're still an emerging country.
"Hopefully in the future we can get more even pay so the blokes on the borderline who are getting a lot of money from other teams like Jason Taumalolo, we can turn them away from picking New Zealand and they can pick their country of Origin going forward."
Already without Pat Kaufusi and Tony Williams due to injury, Vave fears the Tongan World Cup side will be further decimated as their young players continue to shine in club land.
He's tipped several Tongan eligible players to get the nod for the Kiwis.
"Blokes like Solomone Kate and David Fusitu'a are on the borderline of playing. If they're fit I think they play for New Zealand," Vave said.
"Names like Michael Jennings are tossed up all the time. Sio Siua Taukeiaho, if we get blokes like them back, I might not be playing.
"It's the pay package which hurts some of the boys. If you can make 10 grand for a NZ side or Australian Test is going to make a big difference than getting a couple of hundred during the week.
"It takes one of those superstars to stand up and take a bold move and make a choice and set the benchmark and the tone for the rest of the kids coming through.
"We've got a lot of pacific islander kids coming through who are happy to pick Australia over Tonga because of the pay packet. We just want the best for Tonga. Our country is little but we're proud and have a big heart."