Tonga coach Kristian Woolf has declared that John Asiata would be a welcome addition to his side's ever-improving squad as the North Queensland utility prepares to make a decision on his representative eligibility.
A two-Test representative for Samoa in 2016-2017, Asiata also qualifies to play for Tonga and Australia and has told NRL.com that a decision on who he will play for during the Representative Round will be made soon with Samoa to play Papua New Guinea on June 22 and Tonga to meet New Zealand for the first time since their historic upset in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
In the wake of the commitment made by Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita, Siosiua Taukeiaho and Tevita Pangai jnr to play for Tonga, Woolf said that Asiata must be allowed to make what is a very personal decision by himself.
"A bloke like John Asiata is available for Tonga, he's available for Samoa and he's available for Australia," Woolf told NRL.com.
"Those sorts of guys need to do what they feel comfortable with and work out what is most important to them.
"John will certainly come out and let everyone know what he wants to do in his own time; that's not for me to come out publicly and say what they want to do. It's for them to come out when they're ready to do so.
"Players need to make their own choice and be really comfortable in the decision that they make."
Manly winger Jorge Taufua first played for Tonga before switching to Samoa last year and has been a source of inspiration as Asiata weighs up where to pledge his representative allegiance heading towards the 2021 World Cup in England.
"Jorge Taufua is part Tongan, part Samoan, he supported one side of his family and then wanted to support the other side of his family. I took my hat off to him, being able to follow that," Asiata said.
"It would have been hard because the Tongan-Samoan games are pretty intense so for him to do that was massive. That opened up the door for a lot of other players.
"I am Samoan, I do have part Tongan in me. There hasn't been anything publicly released but there might be something coming out," the 26-year-old added.
"It hasn't been finalised but we'll see what happens.
"There are a lot of Polynesians who are kind of a bit of mixture of everything. Bit of Kiwi, bit of Tongan, Samoan, Cook Island, there are a lot of people out there who have got a lot of options.
"What we as players really want is people on the outside to see that it's not betrayal, it's more being supportive of your background and your heritage."
Cowboys v Sea Eagles - Round 13
A catalyst of North Queensland's three-game winning streak following his switch to five-eighth, Asiata is someone who would have a positive influence for whichever team he chooses, according to Woolf.
"He's a class player. Whether he's a half, whether he's a lock, whether he's an edge back-rower, you've seen at the Cowboys he can play wherever he wants," said Woolf, who has guided Tonga to seven wins from 12 games since taking over in 2014.
"Whoever he chooses to play for he is going to add value to.
"He's also a really good person but you can't twist their arm to play for you, they've got to have a real passion for it.
"If they don't have a passion for Tonga then they're better off looking elsewhere but if they do have a real passion for representing Tonga then we'll obviously make them welcome."