Knights forward Jacob Saifiti says he won’t put his hand up to play for Fiji in the next World Cup if the impasse over payments to players is not resolved.
Despite signing contracts leading into the Cup, the under-fire Fijian Rugby League board is yet to pass on the $125,000 prizemoney to their players, who were also forced to wait for $35 daily allowances during the tournament.
“The prizemoney is supposed to be split among the boys. We signed contracts to that effect before the tournament,” Saifiti said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’d play for free. I’d pay to play for my heritage but it’s the principle that we are fighting for here.
“There are a lot of guys in the squad not earning any money from rugby league. Some of the boys left their jobs to play and were relying on that money and it hasn’t come.
“Guys like Ashton Sims and Akuila [Uate] – they played in the previous World Cup and said it was worse. We need to make a stand so in future years, we don’t have to go through it.
“If it is going to be like this in the next World Cup, I won’t be putting my hand up.”
Fiji coach and Knights assistant Mick Potter, is also yet to be paid and backed his players’ stance.
“It’s good to see the senior players take a stand,”he said.
Meanwhile, the Knights SG Ball and Harold Matthews squads will kick off their 2018 junior seasons against the St George Dragons at Cessnock today.