New Zealand international Jordan Rapana says it's disappointing his Kiwis and Australia have pulled out of this year's Rugby League World Cup, but the world's problems are bigger than football.
His Canberra Raiders coach, Ricky Stuart, won't stand in the way of any of his players taking part - although he was unsure how many would be keen after likely finishing the NRL season in a Queensland bubble.
Rapana played for the Kiwis in the 2017 World Cup, but he also qualifies for the Cook Islands - who have qualified for the tournament to be played in England in October.
RLWC officials were furious with Australia and New Zealand for withdrawing from the tournament, despite there being almost 40,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday alone.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga and Kiwis coach Michael McGuire hoped it would be postponed to next year, although it was reportedly looking more likely to go ahead without the two powerhouses or get cancelled.
"It's obviously disappointing. I always loved the opportunity to play for my country, especially in a World Cup, but there's bigger things going in the world at the moment," Rapana said.
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The Raiders have a raft of players who could still take part for England, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and the Cook Islands - including England internationals Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead.
Rapana felt the Englishmen would likely want to play, with Hodgson having already said he was keen to take part.
"You probably have to talk to them, [but] I'd say so," he said.
"They're probably in the same boat as me and they enjoy any opportunity they can to play for their country. I'd say they'd have both hands up."
And Stuart said he wouldn't stand in their way if they wanted to go.
But the former Kangaroos player and coach felt some players might prefer to have a rest after spending what could be the final eight games of the home-and-away season in a hub - plus finals.
At this stage, anyone who goes will have to do two weeks' hotel quarantine when they return down under.
"I really don't know if a lot of the boys would've been mentally up to finishing their season in a hub and then going away again for a World Cup," Stuart said.
"I'm all for representative football ... but I just think the World Cup isn't the only thing COVID is disrupting at the moment.
"It's a unique situation we're all in and I think after these boys finish their season off in a hub I think they deserve a rest.
"If they think they're physically and mentally ready to play I support that. But it's not the only thing COVID's ruining at the moment.
"There are a lot of families and a lot of people going through a lot worse than pulling out of the World Cup. I feel for them."
NRL ROUND 20
July 31: Canberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights at Lang Park, 5.30pm.