Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga's vision of returning international rugby league to the pinnacle of the sport is supported by the quality of NRL players not eligible for State of Origin.
Meninga was credited by NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg as a driving force in the international game on Thursday, as the league revealed their proposed calendar for the next four months.
Included are more structure around Pacific Tests and Oceania Cups, with ARL Commission chairman declaring an "Origin spirit" could be extended to international matches.
For so long considered the highest echelon due to Australia's dominance of the international game, the interstate game was seen as the best of the NRL's best facing off.
The popularity and sheer intensity of Origin should also mean it's position as the ultimate drawcard isn't questioned.
Attendances at the MCG and ANZ Stadium for games one and two this year were above 80,000 while even decreased ratings due to a dead-rubber didn't stop the series being amongst the highest rated programs for 2018..
However, the list of NRL players not eligible for the 2018 series shows there's an argument it can't be considered a battle of the league's best 34 players.
Included are the NRL's leading try scorer in David Fusitu'a, the league's leading running forward in Jason Taumalolo and potential Dally M Medal winner Gareth Widdop.
Martin Taupau leads the NRL for offloads, while Sam Burgess is a Clive Churchill Medal winner.
Throw in major drawcards like Roger Tuivasa-Scheck and Suliasi Vunivalu, formidable forwards like James Graham, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and George Burgess and it's an imposing collection.
Billy Slater was the only Dally M Medal winner involved in this year's Origin but he won that award in 2011.
Andrew Fifita - the dominant prop in last year's series opener - made himself unavailable this year as he preferenced playing for Tonga in the Pacific Test.
Fifita's call to turn his back on the Blues and Kangaroos - along with that of Taumalolo, who shunned New Zealand for Tonga - has helped revolutionise the global game.
Tonga outdid the Kiwis' crowd figures in games in New Zealand during last year's Rugby League World Cup while their win over the co-hosts and near defeat of England in the semi-final showed their worth.
The Pacific Test at Campbelltown over the past two years has also sold out twice, with the noise and atmosphere in the stadium unlike any other rugby league event in Australia.
It's prompted Tonga coach Kristian Woolf to call for an annual clash with the Kiwis to be inserted into the rugby league calendar while an end-of-year Test against Australia remains a distinct possibility.
It doesn't mean Origin won't remain the fiercest rivalry in Australian rugby league but it gives hope that Meninga and Woolf's visions combined with increased planning around the international game can reach fruition.
TEAM OF NRL'S NON ORIGIN-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
2. Suliasi Vunivalu
3. Esan Marsters
4. Dean Whare
5. David Fusitu'a
6. Gareth Widdop
7. Shaun Johnson
8. James Graham
9. Issac Luke
10. Sam Burgess
11. Tohu Harris
12. Elliot Whitehead
13. Jason Taumalolo
14. Martin Taupau
15. George Burgess
16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
17. Tevita Pangai Junior
© AAP 2018