Jarome Luai

Jarome Luai confirms he’ll play for Samoa at the World Cup

Luai joins his Panthers and Blues teammate Brian To’o in committing to Samoa, while Queensland and Raiders star Josh Papalii is expected to follow suit.

All three have previously played for Samoa but were in contention for Kangaroos selection.

“I am going to play for Samoa. It is who I am, and it is how I was bought up,” Luai told NRL.com.

“I know I live in Australia, but it is just a way of life for us. We are really connected to our Polynesian side as well.

Kikau, Luai star as Panthers bury Manly at Lottoland

 Luai set up three tries, Kikau and To'o each bagged doubles while makeshift left centre Matt Burton crossed for one as Manly's right side defence was cut to ribbons in ruthless fashion.

 The 40-point loss is Manly's biggest ever at their home ground which was once a fortress but now holds few fears for visiting teams.

 Halfback Nathan Cleary wasn't heavily involved in the attacking plays but kicked brilliantly throughout with both high and short kicks causing the Manly backs endless headaches.

'Triple agent' Luai to become comic book hero

Luai is one of dozens of NRL players to feature in Rugby Blood II, a creation of former Melbourne Storm prop Keith Mason, who has cast the gifted playmaker as a triple agent and renowned escape artist.

Luai represented the Maori All Stars in the 10-10 draw with the Indigenous All Stars on Saturday night and is also a proud wearer of the Samoan jersey. Add to that his inclusion in the NSW squad for last year's State of Origin series.

"I’m a big fan of anime and superheroes, so it is pretty cool," Luai said. "I was shown a photo of how I looked and I was stoked.

'Starstruck' Jarome Luai to play with 'boyhood idol' Benji Marshall for Māori All Stars

Luai was an eight-year-old on a family camping holiday when Marshall led Wests Tigers to the 2005 NRL grand final title.

“Our camping neighbours happened to have a little portable TV, so we watched the game on it,'' Luai, 24, told Australia's News Corp.

“I remember my mum got me a Tigers towel afterwards, and I used it after every shower for the next five years – I just didn’t want to let go of it.

Luai - who is Sydney born with Māori and Samoan heritage - is a NRL star in his own right, having helped the Panthers make the 2020 grand final.

'My heart is with Samoa': Luai wants tier-two nation to follow Tonga's path

The Herald revealed last week Luai was weighing up whether to represent Samoa or New Zealand, and had never entertained the idea of running out for the Blues alongside childhood mate Nathan Cleary.

Luai would not turn down an offer from Blues coach Brad Fittler, but made it clear his heart was with the Pacific nation where his father, Martin, grew up. Samoa could follow in Tonga's footsteps and become a little league powerhouse.

10 NRL young guns of RLWC 2017

England front-rower James Graham was a then 22-year-old forward in England's 2008 World Cup squad and now finds himself 135 games into an NRL career after a move to Australia four years later. 

English hooker James Roby also used the tournament less than a decade ago to kick-start a big career in the English Super League, repeatedly turning down offers from NRL clubs throughout that period. 

We saw Fijian winger Akuila Uate burst onto the international scene at the same time and immediately grab the attention of the rugby league world with five tries in four games.