Nah its still a random choice. To put this into perspective, Isaiya Katoa (probably the best halves prospect in the game under 18 years of age) has opted to leave the Panthers system to join the Dolphins because he knows he'll be stuck behind Cleary and Luai at least in the early part of his career.Go to the best club by miles, in juniors also, or play for a club with no to little development system for the past 3 seasons who have been woeful in the NRL for some time?
Easiest decision anyone in Rugby league could make. I think you would find most RL juniors would jump at the chance, and would be silly not too.
In regards to the living in Australia being a big pull for families, absolutely. I don't live in Auckland, but looking at a lot of the league players coming from there, they seems to be South Aucklanders, Polynesian, with large families. Australia offers better pay and work conditions. There are also heaps of comments from players about getting away from there old friend groups etc.. Seems to be a common occurrence for these families to take the option of a life restart in Australia.
I don't blame him wanting nothing to do with this club, but I cant say that Panthers is a smart choice for him.