Professional athletes seldom engage in long-range planning and can be somewhat ephemeral when it comes to decision-making.
A couple of prime examples that come to mind are the ill-fated decision by GOAT NBA player Michael Jordan to switch codes to baseball and the attempt by rugby player and Dally M medal winner Jarryd Hayne trying to make it as a skills player in the National Football League.
The situation surround Jason Taumalolo is not as extreme, but at this time, it could safely be said that no one, including Taumalolo knows for certain for which nation he will play international rugby this season.
Taumalolo has not ruled out a return to the All Blacks, but if we had to pick, we would say that he is leaning toward sticking with Tonga. He would like to see equal pay for Tongan players, but he doubtless makes enough from playing for the North Queensland Cowboys of the NRL that he can take a pay cut by playing for Tonga, rather than New Zealand, and still have enough left over to meet his wants and obligations.
His decision to leave the All Blacks right on the eve of the Rugby League World Cup caught Coach David Kidwell off guard, and the uncertainty of Taumalolo’s plans certainly has Kidwell planning for every contingency.
Clues that Taumalolomight opt to stick with Tonga came out of an interview he conducted with Fox Sports, where he said, “We’ve got the Pacific Test halfway through the year so I’m sure I will make my mind up sooner rather than later.”
With regard to having an equitable pay scale between big and small countries, he said, “Some of the tier two nations have done well at the World Cup, they’ve definitely improved and it’s becoming a bit tighter on the international stage.”
Tonga is scheduled to play Samoa in Sydney toward the end of June 2018, but the All Blacks will not play a Test against the Wallabies until after the conclusion of the NRL season.
He might also like to stick with Tonga for the opportunity to play a Test against Australia in Hawaii.
Sorry, Jason, no NFL teams based in Hawaii.