Origin lure still strong for Samoa stars
Toa Samoa halfback Kyle Stanley says he's unsure whether the day will come when young Samoans born in Australia will reject the lure of State of Origin football for the nation's blue jumper.
The world's seventh-ranked rugby league nation bowed out of the Four Nations without a victory in its three games after being belted by the Kangaroos on Sunday, but made great strides in the tournament by impressing in clashes against the England and then New Zealand.
But despite their brave showings against the global elite, Stanley remains unconvinced that rising Samoan talents wouldn't shun their home country for the financial rewards of playing representative football in Australia.
"Money talks, you know?" Stanley told NRL.com.
"We weren't about money, this group. We love our country, we love playing rugby league. That's what this campaign is based on: honesty, family and respect. We've done well for ourselves.
"I'm not too sure if players will reject the jumper. If they love their culture, they'll definitely come here. The boys did it for each other and the country."
Two of Samoa's best performers over the three weeks include fringe Origin candidates Joseph Leilua and Josh McGuire, with the latter one of the last cut from the Kangaroos squad late last month.
A third, centre Tim Lafai, has already signalled his intentions on being available for New South Wales selectors next year.
But Stanley said veteran leaders like Frank Pritchard had been a positive influence on the younger members of the playing group like himself and would encourage them to remain loyal to their country.
"When I saw 'Tank' come to the first session, I was shocked. I was like, 'What's he doing here?'" he said.
"When he said he put his hand up for Samoa, it just lifts everyone, you know? Seeing where he's been in his career, it really lifts the whole group. It was awesome."
While Stanley was uncertain about Samoa's long-term depth, the Dragons utility still described his country's first outing in the tournament as a success.
"It's just been a great experience you know. I've never been on a Four Nations before. We all came here as individuals but we're all family now," he said.
"The feeling that we have all the way through this tournament, it's overwhelming. There' s no words to describe it. I've enjoyed it and all the boys have as well.
"Everyone knows who Samoa is now, we've definitely made our mark on rugby league. We're all proud of what we've achieved. Now we move forward from here. We're heading in the right direction."
Stanley, 23, has yet to sign with a club after coming off contract with the Dragons at the end of last season. However reports emerged over the weekend that the Hurstville product will soon sign with the Sharks.
Stanley was reluctant to divulge details on his immediate future, saying only that playing consistent first grade football was his number one priority.
"I'm not too sure what's happening yet. I just wanna get on the field and play first grade, that's my only goal. Until that happens, it's out of my hands," he said.