Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has backed Australian Test players to travel to England and play for other nations in the Rugby League World Cup after his own side's withdrawal.
Australia and New Zealand's decision to pull out for health reasons has sent shockwaves around the rugby league world, as organisers weigh up what to do next.
The decision however may still not stop close to 350 other Australian-based players and staff from travelling to the tournament if it goes ahead.
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary and Wests Tigers counterpart Michael Maguire were among those on Friday to recommend against their players going for health reasons.
But it's unlikely clubs will be able to legally stop players, who must be made available for representative football as part of their contract.
It means several likely Kangaroos picks could play for other nations, including James Tedesco for Italy and David Fifita for Tonga.
Jarome Luai, Junior Paulo, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Payne Haas, Brian To'o and Josh Papalii could all play for Samoa, while Daniel Saifiti and Tariq Sims are both eligible for Fiji.
"That's their decision and I would support that," Meninga told AAP.
"If James for instance chose to go play for Italy because he can't play for Australia, I wouldn't stand in his way.
"I would back him to do it under the circumstances. It comes down to if they want to."
Meninga's stance was also backed by outgoing South Sydney coach and former Kangaroos and England mentor Wayne Bennett.
"It's the players' rights," Bennett said.
"The NRL and NZRL have made a decision, that's fine. But if a player wants to go and play for Samoa and Tonga I don't see why he can't.
"We have made so many exemptions to keep our competition going here.
"If England and other nations want to keep the World Cup alive, then I don't think it's our prerogative to interfere."
The situation has the potential to set up a showdown between the players' union, the NRL and its clubs.
The UK averaged 43,000 cases per day in the past week as they exited all restrictions.
But the country has seen Wimbledon and the Euro Championships proceed and organisers insist their biosecurity measures were up to scratch.
If the World Cup goes ahead, players from the final would not exit hotel quarantine in Australia until mid-December and only be able to resume pre-season training in February.
But the RLPA on Friday insisted NRL players should still be able to run out for other countries, angry that Australian and New Zealand stars weren't consulted before the call was made.
Australian Associated Press