The World Cup unites club fans across countries as rival players join forces to sacrifice blood, sweat and tears for their nation.
But as much national glory is on the line, it’s also an opportunity for players to boost their individual stocks.
There are veterans playing for their future, and the next generation determined to stamp their mark on the world stage.
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Either way, standout individual performances at the World Cup either enhances your legacy or earns a big payday – and often both.
Here foxsports.com.au looks at the NRL players with the most to gain at the World Cup in England.
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Dylan Brown (New Zealand)
The Kiwi No. 6 is set to test his value on the open market next month and a dominant World Cup display will go a long way in bolstering his price tag.
Brown is electric on his day and has the flair to blow games open if the pack in front of him gets rolling forward.
The Eels are confident they’ll keep the talisman beyond next season but an explosive World Cup campaign could see a rival club make him an offer he can’t refuse.
Nathan Cleary (Australia)
The most influential player in the world has already delivered Penrith two premierships and New South Wales three Origin series – and he’s just 24.
Cleary’s dominance at such a young age has drawn comparisons to rugby league’s Immortals.
Andrew Johns believes tracking to become the best player of all time, but that status can only be reached with a World Cup to his name.
Joseph Suaalii (Samoa)
The Roosters teenager has made no secret of his desire to play fullback in the NRL and he stunned Australia with a late defection to Samoa.
Some pundits accused Suaalii of removing himself from Kangaroos selection so he could play fullback elsewhere.
Samoa are favourites to beat host national England in the tournament opener and a deep run on the back of some Suaalii brilliance could see an NRL club him at fullback.
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Jeremiah Nanai (Australia)
This teen superstar backed himself to sign just a one-year extension in April, despite the Cowboys offering a long-term deal.
Nanai’s price tag has risen with every performance since, the 19-year-old played all three Origin games for Queensland and will make his Kangaroos debut on Sunday.
The youngest player in Australia’s squad is already a proven performer for his club and state, if he can replicate that on the world stage then he can name his price.
Stephen Crichton (Samoa)
Crichton is another outside back with ambitions to wear the No. 1 jersey in the NRL, but he’s stuck behind a gun at Penrith.
Dylan Edwards isn’t going anywhere which means Crichton will have to look elsewhere for his opportunity.
The 22-year-old will hit the open market on November 1 but he might not get the chance to play fullback for Samoa with fellow young gun Joseph Suaalii determined to play there.
Dom Young (England)
The Knights winger enjoyed a breakout season in 2022 and now gets the chance to represent his country at a home World Cup.
Young crossed for 14 tries this year and was one of the few shining lights in an otherwise underwhelming season from Newcastle.
The 21-year-old is headed for the open market next month and a few try hauls at the World Cup could see the 200cm flyer secure a lucrative new deal.
Marty Taupau (Samoa)
The veteran prop earned $800,000 at Manly this season but finds himself without a contract anywhere in 2023.
Taupau is keen to play next year and if it’s not in the NRL there’s no better place to showcase his talents to Super League sides than at a World Cup in England.
The 32-year-old’s big money days are over but a few eye-catching performances for Samoa could earn him one final pay day.
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David Fifita (Tonga)
Few players have been under more scrutiny since the Titans backrower signed one of the biggest deals in NRL history.
Fifita has one season to run on his mammoth $1.2 million per season and is facing a massive pay cut on his next contract.
That’s unless he can deliver an epic World Cup campaign and show NRL clubs exactly why he’s worth the big bucks.
Kieran Foran (New Zealand)
The veteran half made his international debut just months after New Zealand won the 2008 World Cup with a famous upset against Australia.
Foran, 32, won’t get another chance to win the World Cup and 2022 is arguably the best opportunity of his career, with the star-studded Kiwis second favourites.
They’re on a collision course with Australia in the semi-finals and one last international masterclass from Foran would be the feather in the cap on an already decorated career.
Mitch Moses and Adam Doueihi (Lebanon)
These two would have to be one if not the best halves pairing Lebanon has ever produced and both are playing for a pay day.
The Eels halfback and Tigers five-eighth are headed for the open market next month and a fairytale run will only boost their stocks.
Lebanon have been pooled with New Zealand, Ireland and Jamaica, and they’ll likely face Australia in the quarterfinals.
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