The New Zealand Rugby League have decided not to enter teams in the upcoming Commonwealth Championships, which could lead to another Jason Taumalolo-like situation.

The championships, which will be held later this month in Queensland, are an international Nines tournament.

It is officially endorsed by the Commonwealth Games Federation and is classed as an exhibition sport, with a view to possible inclusion in future Games.

The first Commonwealth championships was held in Glasgow in 2014, and the Rugby League International Federation remain hopeful that Nines league could become a medal event in 2022 in Birmingham.

Advertisement

The men's event is an under-23's division, while the women's competition is open.
In the Women's competition, hosts Australia will be joined by Canada, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

The men's tournament has defending champions Papua New Guinea alongside Australia, Fiji, Scotland, Wales, England, Samoa and Tonga.

The NZRL has elected not to send teams in either category, which has left some members of the Kiwi Ferns contemplating aligning themselves with other nations for the event.

Two or three New Zealand players are understood to be turning out for Samoa, while another member of the team has been in correspondence with Tonga.

NZRL CEO Alex Hayton said the decision not to participate was made purely for financial reasons.

"We couldn't afford it, on top of all the other commitments at the end of last year," said Hayton. "The investment required if we wanted to do it properly – in terms of preparation and everything – wasn't something that was feasible for us, given all of our other commitments."

Hayton confirmed that some Kiwi Ferns might be turning out for other nations.

"They could be…and that is something they are entitled to do," said Hayton. "But I know some players are happy to have a break and prepare for their club seasons and the possible Women's NRL competition."

New Zealand will be represented in the Physical Disabilities section of the tournament – against Australia and a World All Stars team – but that team is a separate entity from the NZRL.

The Commonwealth Championship starts on February 23, with the final held on February 24.