With less than 100 days until the World Cup kicks off in England, rugby league’s international game finds itself at a crossroads.
A fortnight ago the Pacific Test weekend was played in Sydney and Auckland for the final time, becoming collateral damage in the NRL’s new TV deal with the Nine Network from 2023 onwards.
The new contract mandates that State of Origin II returns to a Wednesday night slot.
“I really believe it (the Pacific Test weekend) is a massive event,” Tonga prop Andrew Fifita told AAP.
“For me it should have more importance than State of Origin, playing for your country is the pinnacle in every other sport.”
Supercoach Wayne Bennett called the move “crazy” and he’s not alone in expressing surprise given the three men’s Tests had an accumulative Australian TV audience of more than one million.
“I thought it was a great week for all the nations,” said Kiwis halfback Jahrome…