Again, in recent times 3 of 43 players chose not to represent their country of birth (not necessarily country of development) to play SOO. Unless you’re close personal friends of Tamou, Papalii of Teo, then their motivations are up for debate and I obviously have no interest in this or any further insights than yourself. Many, many more Australian (and Kiwi) born and/or bred players have gone to represent other countries. SOO players that are legitimately eligible for other countries represent a drop in the ocean.
True, the overwhelming majority of people think a state v state series is a more valuable contest than anything international league throws up. That doesn’t mean anything (and it has meant next to nothing) as far as Intl RL is concerned.
SOO will always be on top of the pecking order in my lifetime, that I am sure of. So any perceived influence you believe it has on international RL will remain.
The reality is, SOO influence on the international rugby league landscape is miniscule at best. Things like international migration to Australia and the improving professionalism of the NRL are examples of external factors that have a real impact on intl RL- and it’s for the better.
Firstly, Segeyaro hasn’t played for QLD yet. Him, along with the others you’ve mentioned there all moved to Australia at a young age and came through our RL development pathways. They played for junior regional, state and national rep sides and grew up watching their idols playing for their state and country. Is it that far-fetched to believe that someone who has lived most of their life in Australia (adopting our culture and growing up through our RL systems), would want to actually represent the Kangaroos? With 25% of our population being born overseas, we’re an immigrant society. The fact that only 3 of 43 players to play SOO were born overseas is pretty remarkable. Finally, the reality is SOO isn’t ‘forcing’ these players to play for Australia. 2 of the names you mentioned played for Fiji at the last WC and Segeyaro was in line to play for PNG but ruled out due to injury.
RL eligibility will remain farcical until something is done about the laws. Simple. How exactly is SOO ‘in the way of eligibility?’ 3 of 43 players involved in last year’s series were born in NZ. Everyone else was born and bred in Australia so who else ‘should’ they be representing? Also, 4 of the Kiwis 4N’s squad were born in Australia. One of those was SKD who moved to NZ when he was 3 but the other 3 only qualify on heritage grounds. Of our 3 who were born in NZ, 2 moved to Australia when they were 13 or younger (eg they came through our development systems and pathways). There are plenty of other NZ born players who came through our system as juniors. To suggest SOO is ‘in the way’ is making excuses. It is how it is so some of the ‘minnows’ can be somewhat competitive (not on the end of triple digit floggings) and as a result the legitimacy of international RL on the big stage beyond the bigger nations will remain questionable. SOO plays no part in this whatsoever.