Players in the Samoan, Tongan and Fijian sides earned less than five per cent of what their Kiwis and Kangaroos counterparts took home from this week's representative round.

Despite the development in Pacific league over the past few years, the financial disparity with the major nations remains massive.

Players in the Pacific teams, which include Warriors Tui Lolohea, Ata Hingano, Ken Maumalo and Bunty Afoa, banked around A$650 ($700) each in their respective fixtures last night.

In contrast, the Australian and New Zealand players earned around A$20,000 for their participation in the Anzac Test week.


Even the players in the NSW City-Country clash - which will be discontinued after this year - will receive A$5000 each for the game in Mudgee this evening.

The Pacific test weekend has been a big success, starting from humble beginnings four years ago to become one of the most anticipated weekends on the league calendar. The matches have attracted good crowds, and television audiences have revelled in the entertainment and passion on display.

"A lot of people had doubts that a purely Pacific test concept could work in Australia," said Frank Puletua, NRL's head of Pacific Strategy. "But the intensity, the skill and the national pride on display have converted a lot of followers."

Puletua points out that the NRL already cover the accommodation and logistics costs for the island nations, as well as staging the games.

"It's a sizeable undertaking to deliver it," said Puletua.

"The NRL covers all of that and recognise that it is an important part of a broader strategic plan."

The best hope is an incremental increase for Pacific players. While it's unlikely that pay parity could be achieved in the current market, there may be some room to manoeuvre in the collective bargaining agreements discussions between the Rugby League Players Association and the NRL.

"These games have become an important part of the NRL calendar and are only going to get bigger," said Samoan coach Matt Parish. "All of the island nations are getting stronger and the changes in the international eligibility laws will only help that.

"It would be good if the Polynesian players got some sort of return to recognise their efforts on the international stage, like the Kiwis and Kangaroos."

Under Parish, Samoa have been at the forefront of a renaissance for the lesser nations in league. Samoa came extremely close to upsetting both England and the Kiwis in the 2014 Four Nations tournament, and will be a strong prospect for a semi-final berth at the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.

Tonga, who are also in the Kiwis' pool at the November tournament, will field a strong side. Papua New Guinea will be an intimidating prospect on home soil and Scotland have been emboldened by their historic 18-18 draw with the Kiwis in Workington last November.

"It's no longer just the big three," said Parish.