The Daily Telegraph reports that Minichello brothers Anthony and Mark, Aidan Guerra, Shaun Berrigan, Vic Mauro, Craig Gower, James Tedesco, Anthony Laffranchi, Cameron Ciraldo, Kade Snowden and  Terry Campese, some of them among the genuine stars of the game, will play “for love and their heritage”.

“Money’s not on our radar,” Ciraldo said.

“I’m not even thinking of putting my hand out for money,” Tedesco added. I just want the opportunity to play in the World Cup.”

Rugby league is a very poor cousin to football and rugby union in Italy, but they will be scraping together funds to keep their backroom staff in accommodation.

Australia’s Kangaroos players get $10,000 a Test at the moment, but the Azzurri won’t get a cent for what will realistically be only match payments.

Roosters legend Minichello has played for Australia and recently made a comeback at fullback for NSW amid an injury crisis, but has long been out of the reckoning for Australian selection.

His dad arrived in Australia aged 13 and the family still identifies strongly with the Italian heritage.

“My family will just be proud to see me running around in an Italian jumper,” he said.

Another former Australian league representative Craig Gower has recently extended his contract at the London Broncos until 2014, so may be able to put a few of the boys up for London games. He’s also played 13 times for Italy in rugby union.

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