Samoa coach slams NRL treatment of Pacific Islands

Samoa coach Matt Parish has hit out at the way in which the NRL treats the players and coaches of Pacific nations, following some fine Test matches between island nations at the weekend.

Papua New Guinea beat Fiji and Samoa beat Tonga 18-6 in two entertaining games, but Parish maintains that if similar amounts of money were spent on the islands as were spent on the Kangaroos and Kiwis, they could be even bigger and better.

While players for City, Country, Australia and New Zealand received payments from the NRL, Pacific nations were left to find the bulk of their own funding.

Tonga, for example, paid their players Aus$500 as match payment, but only after sourcing their own sponsorship.

The Samoan players were not paid at all for playing.

Australia and New Zealand receive a reported Aus$180,000 to fund the mid-season Test. Each of the four competing Pacific Island nations receive approximately Aus$87,000 each.

“No one gets looked after in the Pacific Tests and it’s unfair,” Parish told Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

“The people in charge of the Pacific nations that work for the NRL are all weak.

“They liaise for Australia and Australian team managers.

“They walk around in green blazers and they pick and choose who we can pick.

“It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever been involved with.

“The rules are there because there are no rules — they are ridiculous and they make them up as they go.

“Until we get someone willing to stand up for the Pacific nations we are always going to have this problem.”

And Parish is convinced that there is only one real reason why the Pacific nations are treated the way they are.

For him, it is all about certain factions wanting to maintain the status quo, with Australia unassailable at the top of world rugby league.

“They don’t want us to beat Australia and New Zealand, because if that happens people will lose jobs,” he added.

“The people in there are saying we need to get the Kangaroos back to No. 1 and they are the ones saying you can’t pick Anthony Milford for Samoa.

“You can’t pick Tuimoala Lolohea for Tonga, because they don’t want us to beat them.

“But they want us to be strong and put on this marvellous show, which we will continue to do because even more players now want to play for the Pacific nations.”

Parish did have words of praise for Super League club Hull FC, who released Frank Pritchard to play for Samoa and Sika Manu for Tonga over the weekend.

“Hull show a lot of respect for representative football and it’s a shame not all clubs in Australia do the same thing,” he said.

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