Jason Taumalolo has threatened to retire from international football at age 26 if a dispute between Tonga players and the national board can't be resolved.
A contingent of the Mate Ma'a Tonga playing group intend to boycott the upcoming World Cup Nines and Tests against Great Britain and Australia unless chairman George Koloamatangi and secretary Williams Edwards are removed from the board.
Behind-the-scenes efforts to ease the tensions are ongoing.
While Taumalolo is eligible to return to the ranks of his birth country New Zealand - for whom he played 10 Tests before switching allegiances to Tonga before the 2017 World Cup - the powerhouse Cowboys lock said that isn't an option.
"I'm sticking solid with the red and white and if that doesn't work I guess I might have to retire [from] international football," Taumalolo told reporters on Wednesday after winning his fourth-straight Paul Bowman Medal for North Queensland's Player of the Year.
"Hopefully it doesn't come to that... I'd still love to play for Tonga and play alongside some of the great players that have represented in the last few years.
"But if that doesn't work out and we can't come to an agreement, I'll eventually retire from international football.
"We haven’t come to a solution yet so that’ll be my next thing that I've got to deal with but I'm still training and doing my best to stay fit in case things have changed.
"I'll do my part in trying to get this all sorted, as much as I can control. Hopefully it's all sorted before the Nines and the Tests at the end of the year."
The popular Kristian Woolf has been sacked as Tonga's coach and replaced by Frank Endacott amid the turmoil.
However, Taumalolo is optimistic Woolf could regain his role down the track.
'What he's done for our country and to help build the roster we have now and have the backing and belief of the players that have been turning out for the red and white the last few years has been truly amazing," Taumalolo said.
"Obviously [Woolf's departure] is going to send some shockwaves throughout the playing roster but I’m sure at some point we can get him back on board and get the players back playing."
New Zealand Rugby League CEO Greg Peters said his nation's current stance is to retain their incumbent players if Tongan stars like Taumalolo and David Fusitu'a do express an interest in returning to the Kiwis fold.
"They are still eligible under current RLIF regulations [as Tonga is a tier-two nation] but we have a very committed player group loyal to the black and white jersey that we are working with to [the] 2021 World Cup and we will stick with those players," Peters told NRL.com.