Jason Taumalolo has left the door open for a controversial return to New Zealand after refusing to pledge his allegiance to the Kiwis or Tonga for the representative round later this month.
New Zealand coach Michael Maguire said he is resigned to being without the dual-eligible players who represented Tonga at last year's World Cup when the Kiwis meet England in Denver on June 23.
However, after turning in a match-winning performance in North Queensland's NRL win over Manly, Taumalolo said his mind remains open on the issue.
Taumalolo, who turned 25 on Thursday, said he has put all his focus on helping the Cowboys kick-start their disappointing start to the campaign before considering his international options.
"I haven't spoken too much with anyone at the moment regarding representative stuff, purely because I've been trying to focus on trying to get (North Queensland) back on track," Taumalolo said.
"I've got a few more weeks so I'm sure you guys will find out soon."
The Cowboys star turned in his best performance of the season in their 14-point win over Manly on Thursday, carrying the ball for 268m, busting 12 tackles and scoring a try.
Taumalolo has been criticised at times this season for not living up to the lofty standards he set during his blockbuster 2017 season when he averaged 194 metres.
Thursday night's victory over the Sea Eagles was just the second time this year he has run for over 200 metres, according to Fox Sports Stats.
He also punched out 80 minutes for the first time this season.
While considered a player of unparalleled natural ability, Taumalolo revealed his lull in form led him to question himself.
"At the start there we were 3-4 losses, you start doubting yourself and start questioning why you're still playing," he said.
"I've slowly got myself out of that slump for a bit, just trying to find myself and not only better myself but better everyone else around me too."
Maguire told New Zealand's Stuff website that he believed the likes of Manu Mau, Sio Suia Taukeiaho, David Fusitu'a and Solomone Kata would play for Tonga in the Test against Samoa in Sydney on the same day.
"Those guys I think are going to stick with Tonga," Maguire said.
"I've had bits of communication around that and for myself coming in, I want players who will go out and put their bodies on the line for that jersey."
Meanwhile, Australian Ben Gardiner has been retained as one of Maguire's assistant coaches, with a New Zealander still to be named to fill the other assistant role.