Well, it's the clubs who pay the representative players the vast majority of their income, whatever they get from playing S of O or Internationals is just a top-up.
And it's pretty much accepted that when a player looks back on their careers/looks at what they want to achieve in their careers, they'll place winning an NRL Premiership top of the list in importance. Maybe someone should tell the Warriors that the NRL Premiership trophy isn't known as a Wooden Spoon?
It's nice when New Zealand players talk about the honour of wearing the Silver Fern or JT talks about wanting to honour his heritage by playing for Tonga etc, but that's not where the money's at.
Can understand the risk they take releasing players as an injury can derail their season.
Although it’s not explicitly stated you can imagine it’s the BRL trying to protect their competition by boycotting Aus and NZ. It’s why I’m against NZ players still playing for ‘heritage’ nations in this World Cup. Aus can afford to lose a few players, Kiwis depth isn’t able to