If there was any doubt that Phil Gould is one of the shrewdest operators in the business, the Bulldogs general manager has proven it once again in the past week.
If you want to play State of Origin, you then are choosing to play for the Australian Kangaroos when it’s not close to a World Cup. The rules are dodgy at best, but let’s put it out there so people know what I am talking about.
The current rules for eligibility for Origin and developing nations, from the NSWRL:
“The current rules are that if a player appears for a developing nation in a Test then he is ineligible for Origin. This has to be seen within the time frame between World Cup tournaments, the next of which is due in 2013.
For eg, Neville Costigan who has represented PNG in the past, is not eligible for the Kumuls at the end of the year as he has appeared in this year’s Origin series.”
So we punish Neville because he played his junior Rugby League in Queensland and wants to play Origin, so we won’t let him represent his country of heritage at the end of the year, unless its within World Cup time, then the rules are ‘relaxed’ so he can play for the Kumuls.
Hard to follow, isn’t it?
Sadly Rugby League administration, especially for the International game, has always been a shambles. They proclaim this keeps State of Origin pure and also will help the International game.
The situation is compounded with Knights player, Akuila Uate, representing Fiji for the last two years, but he also played some junior Rugby League on the NSW central coast, so he could also choose to represent NSW. But, of course, in doing that he would forfeit playing for Fiji until most likely 2012 or early 2013.
We can’t punish players who play junior football in NSW or Queensland for wanting to play Origin, and by doing that, sacrifice a chance to play for their home nation.