Organisers of the Rugby League World Cup will discuss including indigenous Australian and New Zealand teams in the tournament, to replace the countries' official sides who have pulled out.
Pressure is mounting down-under from players who want to attend the World Cup in October, despite the sport's governing bodies withdrawing their representative sides, last week.
Including the Australian Indigenous All-Stars and the New Zealand Maori All-Stars in the tournament is described as a 'viable option' by senior officials in international rugby league.
Australia's Indigenous All-Stars are on the charge to play at the Rugby League World CupInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The Rugby League World Cup committee, which is due to meet on Tuesday evening, will consider a report on the inclusion of the all-star teams, although no final decision is expected.
The Australian Indigenous Players' Group has approached the National Rugby League – the all-powerful domestic competition - to request that individuals be released by their clubs if they want to travel to England for the tournament.
The country's all-star indigenous team has been coached by Aussie rugby league great Laurie Daley since 2011 and he is understood to be open to an invitation to lead the team at the showpiece competition in England.
'Without question, it is very viable,' said Troy Grant, chairman of International Rugby League. 'It is being considered and consulted on. We are discussing it with [the players]. They want to participate. There is a high response to that.
The team, a long with the New Zealand Maori All-Stars play exhibition matches each year
'One of both sides would add to the quality of the tournament and the excitement.
'It is something they [World Cup committee] are considering. A lot of work has been done to provide as much information as possible.
Peter V'landys, chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission withdrew his nation's team from the World CupInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'There are players that would be in the Kangaroos and Kiwis teams that had qualified.'
Grant said the committee was also considering the alternative option of including teams from USA and Serbia, which are the next in line to qualify. He described that option as having 'equal merit'.
The initial formal steps have been taken to allow the indigenous teams to assemble and participate.
Grant said the Indigenous Players' Group have discussed the option and approached the NRL.
Melbourne Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr is leading the indigenous players' campaign.
Melbourne Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr has spoken to the NRL about releasing players
Addo-Carr, South Sydney Rabbitohs full-back Cody Walker and team mate, Latrell Mitchell, are helping to lead the charge for Indigenous and Maori sides to replace Australia and New Zealand.
Organisers of the Rugby League World Cup have pledged to spend £5 million to secure the safety of Australian-based players and staff at the autumn tournament, Sportsmail can reveal.
The £5 million package includes seven charter flights to and from the UK - 14 in all - for up to 400 players and officials from different countries, who compete in the National Rugby League in Australia.
This would have included representatives of the Australia and New Zealand teams, but will also provide for Tongan, Fijian and even English players and staff.
The exact protocols have been set out in a 75-page document produced by the tournament and shared with the 16 participating nations. It includes safe and comfortable quarantine arrangements for the participants on their return to Australia.
Abdo-Carr has met with NRL CEO Andrew Abdo to discuss the matter and is waiting for a response from league officials about the option.
'We had a meeting with Andrew Abdo a couple of days ago and discussed potentially putting the Indigenous All Stars and Maori All Stars in the World Cup,' Addo-Carr said.
'I'm just waiting to hear back from Andrew and the NRL to get that approved.
'I know all of us boys are keen take part and do whatever it takes to be a part of the World Cup, especially for the Indigenous All Stars.'
However, it remains unclear if the NRL clubs will be legally required to release the players to represent the all-star teams.
The World Cup and virus