After a sensational 2020 season from both Tino “Big Country” Fa’asuamaleaui and his NSW rival Payne “Killer” Haas, the NRL fanbase are enticed by this new sensation of Samoan rugby league prodigies who have been raised in the bush.

Big Country, the son of of Samoan former Sydney City reserve grader, was raised in the 750 person town of Widgee just west of Gympie.

Two seasons into his NRL career has already seen an Origin series win, an NRL premiership performance and a handful on international honours.

So far, Big Country’s ‘household name moment’ moment came in the shape of a no-holds barred Game II punch-on with fellow rural Uso Payne Haas.

This week a formal 100,000 petition has been presented to the NRL by a collective of rugby league fans demanding that NRL scouts spend more time visiting country towns with large fruit picking and timber lopping industries – two careers commonly associated with retired Polynesian internationals who finished their playing days in bush league.

While Killer and Big Country are currently the gold standard of Pacific Islander bushies, this sensation of Land meets Sea is not limited to Samoans.

Rural tokos are also known for bringing this same energy with the Fifitas spending a good portion of their Tongan-Aboriginal-Australian upbringing in the wild west of the Riverina.

Willie and Esi Tonga have also proven that Tongan-Aboriginal-Australian rugby league players are integral to representative football.

ARL Commissioner Saint Peter V’Landys is reportedly preparing a statement in response to this new push.

Early reports show that V’Landys has been working alongside the Minister For Agriculture, David Littleproud MP, to prepare an industry-led migration wave from the Islands to rural Australia to fill the void of a skilled workforce of visa workers lost to the travel bans.



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