Brisbane prop Payne Haas has confirmed he will sit out the Rugby League World Cup for personal reasons after winning the Broncos' player of the year award for a fourth consecutive season.
The 22-year-old, who was heartbroken when his mother Uiatu 'Joan' Taufua was recently sentenced to jail until October 1 for assaulting security staff at the Star Casino, is set to have shoulder surgery.
Haas' withdrawal is a big blow for the Australian side after State of Origin props Junior Paulo and Josh Papali'i confirmed their allegiance to Samoa.
The Samoans got another huge boost on Wednesday, with gun youngster Joseph Suaalii announcing he will also turn out for the country despite being firmly on the Kangaroos' radar.
Haas, who has Samoan heritage, said he had no intention of playing for any country other than Australia and had told coach Mal Meninga of his allegiance.
"I was tossing and turning over it for a couple of weeks," Haas said of his "pretty hard" decision.
"I just thought that at this time, especially with my body and with all the stuff going on in my family, I needed to be home as the older sibling.
"I need to be there for my little brothers and give them a bit of guidance. I felt that was more important than going over to England and playing the World Cup.
"Like anyone, if it was their own mother (in jail) you would be pretty shattered. I am pretty close with my mum. It has been tough.
"I haven't got to speak to her the last couple of weeks. All I know is that my dad has been talking to her and she is in pretty high spirits at the moment. Hopefully I see her soon."
Haas became just the second player in Broncos history to win the Paul Morgan Medal for a fourth time.
Only four-time Broncos premiership-winning halfback Allan Langer has won the award on more occasions (1988 and 1993-1996).
It capped a tumultuous year for Haas who despite being on contract until the end of 2024 sought a release from the club in May, which was denied by the Broncos.
The request was essentially a pay dispute over the NSW forward's worth.
Despite not being granted his request, Haas knuckled down to continue the consistency that has highlighted his career at the Broncos.
"I never said I wanted out of the club," Haas said.
"I love this club and I've always told you (the media) especially that I love Brisbane and I love the people here."
Meanwhile, Roosters winger Suaalii, 19, said he had called Meninga to let him know of his decision, which he described as a particularly difficult one to make.
"I can't thank him enough for considering me but this is about more than football," he told News Corp.
"This is about respecting my family and the sacrifices they have made for me throughout my career.
"My grandparents still live in Samoa and I am looking forward to honouring them and my parents by pulling on the Samoan jersey.
"One day, I hope to play for Australia. I truly believe Samoa can do great things at this World Cup and I can't wait to be part of it."