Can all the naysayers just enjoy the Rugby League World Cup?

spruce moose Roar Guru

By spruce moose, spruce moose is a Roar Guru


378 Have your say

    Amid some great positive vibes surrounding the Rugby League World Cup, there have also been people commenting that the tournament is a bit mickey mouse, the format is a joke, the scheduling is off, that it’s essentially just musical chairs for NRL players, and that Australia is going to romp it in.

    You know what? That’s all true. All of it.

    With no teams from Asia, Africa or South America, and two from Continental Europe, it’s hardly a World Cup.

    The format is bizarre. In Pools A and B, you didn’t even need to win a game – Samoa’s single draw saw them in the finals, while poor old Ireland and Italy got the big screw over by being placed in a minnow pool.

    Yep, it is musical chairs for the NRL players. You didn’t make the Australian team? No problem, see if you have any heritage with the other nations playing, give the coach a ring and walk into the team.

    And yes, Australia are going to romp it in. At best they might get a bit of a Test from England or Tonga, but only a fool would bet against them.

    But to view the World Cup through those cynical lenses is to miss the point. Rugby league has a World Cup for the same reason that every other sport, no matter how big or small, popular or irrelevant: it gives the players the opportunity to represent their country and people from smaller nations to test their mettle against the best in the game they love.

    In that way, it’s no different from the Olympics.

    Take the 100-metre sprint. No non-African descended person has won the gold since 1980 – and that was the boycotted Moscow games, when winner Allan Wells ran an embarrassingly slow 10.25. Frankly, I doubt I’ll be alive to see anyone not descended from West Africa win it again either. And I’m 30!

    So why do others bother competing? Because athletes want the opportunity to play against the best. It’s why Australia got behind Matt Shirvington, Patrick Johnson, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and Craig Mottram anyway. We knew they weren’t going to win, but we’d celebrate if they made a final, if Mottram could finish in the top seven, or if Shirvington set a PB. They gave their best against the best.

    And then, much like Tonga and Fiji beating New Zealand, every once in a while we’d get super lucky and see a Cathy Freeman or Sally Pearson win Olympic glory, reminding ourselves why we continue to support them.

    The reason we should support the Rugby League World Cup is the same reason why Australians watch the winter Olympics – we shouldn’t really be competing, as our first gold medal was won because literally everyone else fell over – twice!

    The second was won in a sport that fortunately does not require any cultural connection or climatic advantage – merely for the participants to be certifiably insane. Another gold was won by a Canadian in disguise, who had Australian heritage, so we rightly treated as Australian as a meat pie – because that’s the Australian thing to do. This was a man whose face was printed on postage stamps, treated as equal – and yet we lambast Australian players for playing for their country of heritage in the World Cup instead of Australia? Double standards anyone?

    I could rattle off a list of actors and singers gleefully claimed as being Australian when it’s convenient to do so. The media will claim anyone famous as an Australian if they transited through here, yet throw you under the bus if you want to represent your heritage. Again, double standards?

    Finally, yes, the Pacific Island teams have a few NRL top ups, and the Lebanese team was essentially a team of the diaspora in Australia, but it didn’t make them any less Tongan, Fijian or Lebanese. The Lebanese team was the anomaly, not the norm. The other 13 teams were filled with a majority of players born and raised in said nation.

    And really, did anyone care? These teams were also filled with lower ranked talent who got vital exposure to the very best rugby league has to offer and will be immeasurably better for it.

    The bottom line is it really doesn’t matter for an athlete where they were born. They are all driven by the same desire: they want to play with and against the best, and to represent themselves and their country proud.

    It doesn’t matter if the USA got flogged in all three of their games, 20 odd Americans of varying degrees of extraction had the opportunity to play in an international competition. The same can be said for the other 13 teams.

    That’s what World Cups are about. That’s what sport is about. And that’s why rugby league deserves to have a World Cup as much as football does, or why athletics, swimming, shooting, and taekwondo deserve the Olympics.

    So just enjoy it for what it is.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (378)

    • November 21st 2017 @ 7:19am
      Greg Ambrose said | November 21st 2017 @ 7:19am | ! Report

      I put a lot of what people do and say simply down to fashion, it is fashionable in their eyes to distance themselves from certain things because they wish to be viewed in a certain manner.

      For some reason it was fashionable to say that you were going to be leaving town when the Olympics came to Sydney, why I could never really work out.

      To say you have been sitting on the couch eating Tim Tams and watching the RUGBY LEAGUE world cup doesn’t have the same ring about it as saying you are opening a craft beer brewery and growing a beard.

      The TV ratings I believe paint the true picture.

      • November 21st 2017 @ 9:02am
        Fred said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        You’re right Greg. A hard contact sport that’s historically been associated with the working class – how can that ever compete with quinoa and a well-groomed beard?

    • November 21st 2017 @ 7:43am
      Not so super said | November 21st 2017 @ 7:43am | ! Report

      No, most Australian thought dale beg smith, the Canadian as a rort

      As for this
      I could rattle off a list of actors and singers gleefully claimed as being Australian when it’s convenient to do so. The media will claim anyone famous as an Australian if they transited through here, yet throw you under the bus if you want to represent your heritage. Again, double standards

      What rubbish, the media making a click bait headline doesn’t equate to everyday Australians believing such actors are really Australian
      Terrible attempt at equivalence

    • November 21st 2017 @ 7:45am
      Not so super said | November 21st 2017 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      The Lebanese team was the anomaly, not the norm. The other 13 teams were filled with a majority of players born and raised in said nation.

      This is not true – 16 of the 17 Tongan team were born in NZ or Australia and I bet Samoa is similar.

      • November 21st 2017 @ 8:31am
        Not so super said | November 21st 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

        The Italian team has 15 Australian born players and 1 from France and UK
        Fiji has 10 born in Australia and 1 from NZ and 6 from Fiji

        • Roar Guru

          November 21st 2017 @ 8:54am
          The Barry said | November 21st 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          So someone born in Australia but with thousands of years of Fijian ancestry can’t lay any claim to being Fijian?

          Ditto Lebanon, Tonga, etc

          I claim my Viking ancestry and that was about 1200 years ago…

          • November 21st 2017 @ 9:29am
            sheek said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

            You make no sense at all.

            My ancestry might be Irish, but I’m Australian. If I was a high level sportsman, I wouldn’t think of representing any other country.

            This cross-nation hopping is a junket. Let’s call it for what it is – a convenience. Nothing to do with national pride.

            • November 21st 2017 @ 9:32am
              Fiji said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

              Please, what is ‘convenient’ about Taumololo representing Tonga when he’d earn far more representing New Zealand?

              • November 21st 2017 @ 4:58pm
                not so super said | November 21st 2017 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

                he makes a million a year playing for the cowboys

            • November 21st 2017 @ 9:36am
              Sham said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

              Ok sure I dare you to say that to Andrew Fifita. How would you know about someone else’s national or cultural pride?

              • November 21st 2017 @ 4:04pm
                sheek said | November 21st 2017 @ 4:04pm | ! Report


                If it’s only about the money, it’s okay to treat national allegiance as a convenience?

                Maybe in your book, but not mine.

                It’s quite clear you are both inferring that Taumololo & Fifita are proud to play for Tonga.

                That’s fine. In which case they can stop pretending they’re New Zealander or Australian.

              • Roar Guru

                November 21st 2017 @ 7:09pm
                The Barry said | November 21st 2017 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

                You’re an absolute troglodyte.

                Everyone comply with Sheek’s definition of nationality or you’re morally bankrupt.

                What is so hard for you to understand that nationality is not a black and white concept for everyone? And that it doesn’t have to be to be “right”?

              • Roar Guru

                November 21st 2017 @ 4:13pm
                spruce moose said | November 21st 2017 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

                Sheek… you are a backward ignoramus!

                It is entirely allowed for someone to hold dual identity. End of story. I hold dual identity (and also dual nationality) and I consider myself no more or less Australian than you.

                Wake up to the world you live in, not the colonial backwater you think you live in.

                How dare you ever tell someone what they can or can’t identify themselves as. Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumolono are proud to consider themselves Tongan and proud to consider themselves Australian/New Zealanders as well. They are perfectly entitled to do so.

                You are the The Roar’s equivalent of Bob Katter.

                Leave this website and don’t come back until you educate yourself.

              • November 21st 2017 @ 4:44pm
                Fred said | November 21st 2017 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

                Spruce believe it or not Bob Katter has Lebanese heritage and is quite proud of it!

              • November 21st 2017 @ 4:59pm
                not so super said | November 21st 2017 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

                you mean the guy who plays wit an aboriginal mouthguard

              • November 21st 2017 @ 6:48pm
                Jaime O'Donnell said | November 21st 2017 @ 6:48pm | ! Report

                Is that because his dad is aboriginal and his mum Tongan?

            • Roar Guru

              November 21st 2017 @ 9:47am
              Nat said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

              Therein lies the difference between you and a professional athlete, desire to test yourself. If you had the opportunity to play for Ireland and didn’t, I’ll believe you but you are 1%. How can forgoing an Aust or NZ jumper, the opportunity to win the WC and the $50k payday that comes with it a junket? Andrew Fifita Grandfather broke down in tears when he was told of Andrew’s decision. How is that not Pride?

            • November 21st 2017 @ 9:49am
              nerval said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

              “This cross-nation hopping is a junket. Let’s call it for what it is – a convenience. Nothing to do with national pride.” I don’t doubt that that’s how it is for you, sheek, but how can you be so sure that this applies to, say Taumalolo or Fifita or Naiqama?

              Just what is it about Taumalolo’s rejection of his Kiwi spot – to return to the team he represented at the last World Cup incidentally – that makes you think it’s all about “convenience” and not national pride? It’s not as if he wasn’t good enough to represent NZ, is it? And it’s certainly not anything to do with money – Fifita, for example, would be earning a hell of a lot more of it had he chosen to stick with the Kangaroos. And, after all, take a look at Naiqama’a after-match interview v NZ and tell me that these tears were merely fakery:


              I question only the timing of Fifita and Taumalolo’s announcements. But, not for one second, do I question the pride that has been made manifest in their representing Tonga in this World Cup. And, importantly it doesn’t appear to have been questioned by those Tongan communities both within and without Tonga who have been following their team’s exploits with the kind of fervour we have rarely, if ever, seen.

            • Roar Guru

              November 21st 2017 @ 9:57am
              The Barry said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

              That’s great you feel that way sheek but don’t you get that’s just how you feel?

              Others might not feel that way. Doesn’t make them wrong and you right. Or vice versa.

              I’m a very proud born and bred Australian. My parents are English and Canadian. I would be proud to represent either nation.

              Further back I have Scottish and French heritage that I identify with to a much lesser degree.

              The biggest problem is bigots that have absolute attitudes like people not being able to identify with more than one nationality.

              • November 21st 2017 @ 11:01am
                Cedric said | November 21st 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

                true and generally most get that.
                However when you have an Australian of say Australian Aboriginal/european and Tongan ancestry, at the moment it appears they can swap teams a lot.
                I like you and most have several ancestry lines and I would be not be upset if there was a rule that stated, ” you gotta pick one team only “.
                Otherwise we have a merry go round effect.
                But what a great tournament and it was awesome to have the Island nations supported by their descendants. Just needs more clarity.
                Also, like I’ve been banging on about for a couple of years now, the PI need more cash, like from a Island Nations cup played during SOO, NOT IN SYDNEY ( as someone alluded to ) but in the Pacific Islands and one of which is the north island of NZ. There is the cash cow so they don’t lose out financially.

              • Roar Guru

                November 21st 2017 @ 11:13am
                The Barry said | November 21st 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

                All valid comments Cedric.

                I’d have an issue with players swapping between Australia. NZ and England but I really don’t have a problem with making quality players – who most importantly meet eligibility criteria – turning out for tier 2 nations as available.

                Would this WC be better if Taumalolo, Fifita, Hayne, Tedesco, Lichaa, etc had not been able to turn out for their heritage nations.

                No way.

                For a sport with limited international presence and depth I think having eligibility rules in place that allow players to transition between tier 1 and 2 nations is an intelligent solution.

                When we get to the stage that we genuinely have multiple nations that can win the WC then that can be reviewed.

                For now it’s s good solution.

              • Roar Guru

                November 21st 2017 @ 12:39pm
                spruce moose said | November 21st 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

                Hear hear Barry

                For reasons I’ll never understand, people view citizenship and nationality as inextricably tied. They are called ‘the uninformed’.

              • November 21st 2017 @ 8:53pm
                ads2600 said | November 21st 2017 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

                Hi “The Barry”, thankfully people of Sheeks opinion are starting to become the minority, & are definitely not of the more popular opinion. In my court, we are 90% 1st or 2nd generation “Aussies”. We have Zimbabwean, Polish, Phillipino, English, Fijian, German, New Zealand, & yes English descended “Australians”. We are all greatful to be here, and thankful we are all being given the same opportunities to better our lives and those of our families. All of our children play without race or predjudice in the Court, & we all take pride in our multiculturalism, & the fact the our children will not learn the archaic thought processes of the naive and closed minded. All of our children dream of playing sport for Australia. I have to laugh at the hypocrisy of some people who forget that their ancestors were in fact immigrants to this country as well. Hopefully future generations will not be as bigoted as some of the previous.

            • November 21st 2017 @ 9:39pm
              republican said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

              ……..completely concur with sheek here.
              No man / women can serve two countries and do so is mercenary and expedient.
              This is why tribalism of any sort has been rendered a commercial illusion of farcical proportion and anyone who believes otherwise, are in jejune denial…….

            • November 22nd 2017 @ 11:44pm
              Kavvy said | November 22nd 2017 @ 11:44pm | ! Report

              Simply disgraceful comment Sheek. Tell some of the australian born Tongans, Samoans, Fijians they are not really proud to represent their family/cultural heritage to their face and that it is equivalent to you irish heritage of many more generations back. Foolish

          • November 21st 2017 @ 4:13pm
            Rob said | November 21st 2017 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

            If your born here your Australian. Nothing else. My heritage is irish. My names irish. I would never class myself as irish.

            • November 21st 2017 @ 4:20pm
              pat said | November 21st 2017 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

              So because you don’t, that becomes the universal truth? What if you’re children of army officers or ex-pats? If you’re children of anglo-Australian soldiers born in a city in China? What about children of Australian expat engineers born in Kenya? Must the concept of your nationality and heritage always fit neatly in one box?

            • November 21st 2017 @ 4:58pm
              jacko said | November 21st 2017 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

              And yet my son was born here in Aus and was NOT ALLOWED to be an AUS citizen until he turned 18

              • November 21st 2017 @ 9:42pm
                republican said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

                mmmmm, he’d be rare if he’s a Kiwi, wanting to take out Aussie citizenship, since NZ’ers are the least likely of all our migrant groups to choose to take out Australian citizenship, by a long way………..

              • November 25th 2017 @ 9:56pm
                ads2600 said | November 25th 2017 @ 9:56pm | ! Report

                Have you ever wondered why that is? It is because many of us don’t even have a choice. Your Government is happy for us to pay taxes, but also happy to deny us citizenship. I have spent my entire adult life in Australia (by choice), and yet can never become Australian. I and many other greatful kiwis would love to show our allegiance and respect to our adopted country, for the opportunity to better our, & our children’s lives…but cannot.

              • November 22nd 2017 @ 11:13am
                jacko said | November 22nd 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

                True republican….Have you ever wondered why????

            • Roar Guru

              November 21st 2017 @ 7:11pm
              The Barry said | November 21st 2017 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

              That’s great Rob. Unfortunately it’s not true.

            • November 21st 2017 @ 9:37pm
              republican said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:37pm | ! Report

              ………to be sure, I am of Irish stock like so many Australians and while I am respectful and proud of my heritage, my allegiance is exclusively to Australia……….

            • November 21st 2017 @ 10:10pm
              Fred said | November 21st 2017 @ 10:10pm | ! Report

              That most Australian symbol of all – Ned Kelly – was born here, but considered himself Irish.

              • Roar Guru

                November 22nd 2017 @ 10:01am
                Nat said | November 22nd 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

                Careful Fred, your send the rednecks into meltdown with that analogy. 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        November 21st 2017 @ 8:57am
        spruce moose said | November 21st 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        I’ll concede I had forgotten about the Italian team.

        The PI’s get a pass because of the intense connections PI people have with their homeland. They are born and raised in NZ more out of economic necessity. In a better world they would live in the islands.

        • November 21st 2017 @ 9:38am
          jacko said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          Spruce doesnt that also apply to all the PI guys born and raised in Aus more out of economic reasons??? Would they live in their ancestors countries in a better world?? In fact half of all Australians was either born OS or one of their parents were???
          Also its not just PI who have a intense connection with their homeland…all nationalities do

          • Roar Guru

            November 21st 2017 @ 9:48am
            spruce moose said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

            I deeply advise you to read up some academic literature on identity politics, and to also then narrow your research to cultural connections of pacific islanders.

            Yes, all nationalities have a connection to the homeland, but you should read up a bit more.

            • November 21st 2017 @ 5:00pm
              jacko said | November 21st 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

              And you should try answering what was asked….But your comment says the PI population is more Nationalistic than other nationalities which is 100% unprovable

        • November 21st 2017 @ 5:01pm
          not so super said | November 21st 2017 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

          how are PI people more connected with their homeland than others? isnt all immigration out of economic neccessity. these are not immigrants they are the sons of immigrants

      • November 21st 2017 @ 1:43pm
        Gary Harvey said | November 21st 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

        Not true. Just off the top of my head I know that Konrad Hurrell, Solomone Kata, Sam Moa and Ukuma Taai were all born in Tonga, though of course you are correct, the majority of the squad were born in NZ. Its worth noting that there are almost as many Tongans in NZ as in Tonga.

        • November 21st 2017 @ 5:04pm
          not so super said | November 21st 2017 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

          moa and kata are not in the squad of 17. Taai was a late inclusion in the 1/4 but didnt play against NZ

    • November 21st 2017 @ 7:49am
      pillga said | November 21st 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      I agree lets just enjoy it but what gets me is that the sprukers would have us believe that the game is exploding around the world when in actual fact there would be less people play rugby league Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, USA, Ireland, Italy and Lebanon combined than play in Dubbo on any winter weekend

      • November 21st 2017 @ 9:05am
        Fred said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        I dare say there’d be more playing rugby league in Fiji than mighty Dubvegas.

      • November 21st 2017 @ 11:00am
        mikeT said | November 21st 2017 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        100% right pillga. People just need to be genuine about the size and reach of league and the rlwc.

        • November 21st 2017 @ 11:49am
          Cathar Treize said | November 21st 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

          Have you been to Fiji & seen how the people & media are interacting with this RLWC? Thought not

          • November 21st 2017 @ 12:14pm
            rebel said | November 21st 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

            I think it a lot about the PI nations not engaging in code wars

      • Roar Rookie

        November 21st 2017 @ 2:55pm
        Slickeel said | November 21st 2017 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

        The game is growing around the world. Yes the game is a minnow internationally but progress is being made. Check out
        I get sick n tired of people putting the great game at any chance. The RLWC has been a runaway train with TV ratings. In 2025 the RLWC will be hosted by USA and Canada. Great inroads will be made into Nth America before then. Remember RL has the oldest WC of any football code and is steeped in history. Enjoy it for what it is, a great chance to promote the game but also giving every team a chance to develop the code in each of their counties.

        • November 21st 2017 @ 3:16pm
          Big Daddy said | November 21st 2017 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

          I didn’t realise 1954 was before 1930.
          Must have a different calendar to me.

          • November 24th 2017 @ 12:29pm
            Felix said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

            Slickeel is one of these RL freaks that always talk about the golden future which never arrives but have no appreciation of other codes or the past history of football. Indeed the 1930 world soccer cup was first in case he needs help and he didn’t pick up your point

    • November 21st 2017 @ 8:04am
      Andrew said | November 21st 2017 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      Spruce, you may have the best of intentions, but an article like this is just fodder for the “nay sayers” so don’t expect alot of the comments to support your view. I personally have enjoyed the World Cup for the most part (apart from Mark Braybrook’s commentary), but then like most of us who are enjoyng the World Cup, I have the capacity to appreciate many sports in all their forms.

      Perhaps instead of the Winter Olympics for your analaogy, you could have looked to the national soccer team who for many, many years have relied heavily on players born overseas to represent us, or Tennis, or the way we try to claim Kyrie Irving as Australian or the current Australian Rugby Union side that has two Fijian born wingers playing for it at the moment….

      I don’t care for the debate, people can identify however they like and play for who they like. I am sure Mitchell Moses made his family just as proud as Cameron Smith.

      • November 21st 2017 @ 8:33am
        Gurudoright said | November 21st 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        I think the big difference when comparing the Wallabies’ Fijian players compared to Lebanon or Tongan League players is that Koroibete has lived in Australia for 6 years. How long has Fifita lived in Tonga or Farah and Moses in Lebanon?

        • November 21st 2017 @ 8:54am
          Fred said | November 21st 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          Gurudoright, can you give me an example of ANY SPORT where athletes leave a rich developed country with professional opportunities in their sport to play in a smaller, poorer country with no professional opportunities to develop themselves in the said sport?

          Do people leave Europe to play soccer in Africa? Would a cricketer leave Australia to play in Afghanistan? (the Afghan cricket team by the way all live in Pakistan, but they are still celebrated) Do Americans move to Cuba to play baseball? Why would an NRL or Super League player, with a limited timeframe to do the best he can in his sporting career before he’s too old in his mid 30s, move to Tonga?

          • November 21st 2017 @ 4:44pm
            In Brief said | November 21st 2017 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

            You fundamentally miss the point. The ‘heritage’ players did not leave a poor nation to play in a professional league. In most instances they were not born in the country they are representing and in many cases have never even set foot in said country. Even if they do feel an affinity with the country of their heritage they are not representative of the that countries sporting culture (given the country in question most likely does not have a rugby league culture).

            • November 22nd 2017 @ 5:15pm
              matth said | November 22nd 2017 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

              But their parents or grandparents have to have been born in the ‘heritage’ country, so it’s not like there is only some distant past ancestral connection.

        • November 21st 2017 @ 8:57am
          Fred said | November 21st 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

          How long has the Wallaby Henry Speight lived in Australia? He is a Fijian who has moved to Australia for work (football) and yet he still represents Australia. He has lived in Australia for the briefest possible time to technically qualify.

          And what about Taniela Tupou? Why should he be a Wallaby?

          • November 21st 2017 @ 9:45am
            rebel said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

            Henry Speight has lived in Aus for 7 years. Taniela Tupou is not a Wallaby as he is not eligible. He will be soon when he qualifies under residency after 3 years, which is soon to change to 5 years.
            All players in each code play for a team they are eligible for under birth, residency or heritage. I don’t have an issue with that other than I would like the residency be 5 years and heritage to only be parents, not grand parents.
            Not a big fan of players swapping countries too much, but again, if it is in the rules then so be it.
            Also not a massive fan of the majority of a team being made up of heritage players either, but I suppose Samoa is similar in Rugby but is more of an exception.
            The RLWC has been good and hasn’t pretended to be anything different than what it is. It is just a shame that there have been a few on the peripheral that either grossly overstate it or understate it.

            • November 21st 2017 @ 11:15am
              Fred said | November 21st 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report

              Henry’s lived in Australia 7 years and he’s already been a Wallaby since 2014. Tongan Thor will be a Wallaby as soon as he technically qualifies on residency grounds.

              And good for them. I just can’t stand the hypocrisy of someone cheering on Speight in a Wallabies jersey while shrieking about Taumololo etc being ‘a farce’.

              • November 21st 2017 @ 11:49am
                rebel said | November 21st 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

                Get your point but I am not completely comfortable with the Taumalolo situation.
                i would like to see the situation in both codes where there is more incentive for people to play for their country of origin. Guys like Radradra and Naholo would benefit Fiji more than their adopted countries, but I guess they are still popular back home for making it to the top level and supporting their families.

              • November 24th 2017 @ 12:31pm
                Felix said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

                Speight didn’t change countries in the one year without any residency qualification so yes Taumololo is a farce….

        • November 21st 2017 @ 9:11am
          Sham said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

          That is true but irrelevant. Claiming players as they live in your country just takes talent away from other countries. It also comes down to this what matters more where you currently live or your cultural heritage? To assert that where you currently live is more important is just an empty claim.

          The English Rugby League team could have had many Australians play for them over the last 50 years as several Australian players lived in the UK but they choose not to select those players. Is that good or bad I don’t know. As for the Wallabies a significant share of them were born overseas. Does that matter? It depends. Would the Australian players of Fijian heritage prefer to play for Fiji if they had a genuine option financially to do so? If the answer is yes then it probably does matter. Should money determine which country you represent or is your cultural heritage more important?

          Following your logic English players such as Sam Burgess should play for Australia if they have been here long enough – maybe 5 or 6 years. Does Sam Burgess stop being English at some point?
          What about Tom Burgess or Josh Hodgson.

        • November 21st 2017 @ 9:30am
          herbsandspices said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

          Jason Taumalolo was photographed with the New Zealand flag and jersey as part of the promotion of the world cup. Yet he decides to represent Tonga at the world cup despite playing for the Kiwis less than 12 months ago.

          The switch to Tonga may seem “romantic” to the league die hard fans in Australia defending this world cup but you have to admit it looks a bit embarrassing to the rest of the world.

          • November 21st 2017 @ 5:43pm
            Justin Kearney said | November 21st 2017 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

            But isnt your point nobody else cares herbs? You can’t have it both ways!

          • November 21st 2017 @ 5:51pm
            Brainstrust said | November 21st 2017 @ 5:51pm | ! Report

            Not really, the same thing happened with the break up of Yugoslavia, and in that case you had players from one ethnicity would have been born in the other country, and all thir ancestry might have been from there, yet were allowed to switch. IT could happen tomorrow they switch with a Catalan team.

        • Roar Guru

          November 21st 2017 @ 12:40pm
          spruce moose said | November 21st 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report


          So a chinese person isn’t chinese if they have never spent a day in China?

          • November 21st 2017 @ 9:40pm
            Gurudoright said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:40pm | ! Report

            I would like to think that someone who has Chinese heritage that was born in Australia and grew up in Australia and have never visited China, would consider themselves Australian. Maybe that just me.

            • November 21st 2017 @ 9:44pm
              Justin Kearney said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:44pm | ! Report

              I’d like to think its none of your concern or business what they consider themself to be guru.

            • Roar Guru

              November 22nd 2017 @ 10:16am
              Sleiman Azizi said | November 22nd 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

              That’s not an unreasonable view to have.

              The reality though, such as it is, is that people with multiple heritages move within a different world to people who don’t have them.

              It actually is possible to consider yourself more than one identity.


            • Roar Guru

              November 22nd 2017 @ 11:04am
              spruce moose said | November 22nd 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

              I would like to think they could be entitled to call themselves both chinese and australian.

              I’d also like to think you are clueless.

      • November 21st 2017 @ 8:33am
        Not so super said | November 21st 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        We all know Kyrie is really USA
        The soccer team relied heavily on overseas born players? Incorrect
        Tennis you have a point

        • November 21st 2017 @ 9:13am
          Andrew said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

          “The soccer team relied heavily on overseas born players? Incorrect”


          Where was Kevin Muscatt born? Where was Paul Wade born? Archie Thompson, Mehmet Durakovic, Billy Celeski.. What about Ange Postecoglou as a player and coach?! Speaking of player coaches Les Schienflug
          and while on German’s there is of course Manfred Schaefer…

          So you were saying..?

          • November 21st 2017 @ 1:38pm
            Lionheart said | November 21st 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

            yes, but they qualify under FIFAs citizenship rules, which are perhaps the harshest of any sport. NZ got sprung in 2012 (I think that’s the year), doing what you’re suggesting we do, and their team was suspended from the Oceania nations Cup. Can you imagine what the ME nations would get up to if they were allowed to import foreign players for their national team.

            • November 24th 2017 @ 6:47pm
              Mycall said | November 24th 2017 @ 6:47pm | ! Report

              I think you will find that Qatar are doing just that. Already in place for the Handball WC, they recruited young up and comers paid them a fortune to play in Qatar so that they will qualify for the national team.
              Wrong? Yes. Legal? Yes.
              Anything like what happened for the RLWC ? No!
              The residency rule is a lot more open to rort than the heritage rule.

          • November 21st 2017 @ 5:08pm
            not so super said | November 21st 2017 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

            i was saying the vast majority. you gave up a few names that represent probably 5% of the people that have played for australia in the last 30 years. why dont you come up with some current players

            Billy Celeski – moved to australia as a child and played 1 match 8 years ago
            well played

            • November 22nd 2017 @ 8:40am
              Billy said | November 22nd 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

              Here is something else you won’t see at the Rugby League World Cup – At the final you won’t see a professional athlete tackling a young ball boy to the ground…

              • November 22nd 2017 @ 11:22am
                jacko said | November 22nd 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

                Did you mean a security guard? And then a professional athelete gives up his WC winning medal to see the kid happy again

              • November 22nd 2017 @ 1:45pm
                Jaime O'Donnell said | November 22nd 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                @ jacko,

                I am pretty sure Billy was reffereing to the incedent where Michael (Micky) Marrone,grabbed for the ball from the eball boy, knocking the young fellow to the ground, which sparked a melee between Sydney FC and Adelaide.


                Seeing as the referee red carded Marrone for the incident, and no security guard was involved. Good story though, just lacking in facts..

                But Kudos to Sydney FC, who included him in the post match celebrations on the dias.

      • Roar Guru

        November 21st 2017 @ 8:59am
        spruce moose said | November 21st 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

        I don’t care for the debate, people can identify however they like and play for who they like. I am sure Mitchell Moses made his family just as proud as Cameron Smith.

        Spot on. That’s all that matter.

        The soccer team is a challenging analogy. I had thought about it, but ultimately decided not to. Their professional careers are overseas, but they did play junior soccer in Australia.

        • Roar Guru

          November 21st 2017 @ 9:26am
          The Barry said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

          Yeah – I like that comment too.

          Well said Andrew.

    • Roar Guru

      November 21st 2017 @ 8:51am
      The Barry said | November 21st 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      I agree.

      No one has ever claimed that the league World Cup is equivalent to soccer or rugby or whatever.

      This is a starting point and growth is going to be long and slow.

      This tournament has been enjoyable and Tonga beating NZ was the icing on the cake

      • November 21st 2017 @ 4:47pm
        In Brief said | November 21st 2017 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

        I think the issue is that they are. The perception being created by the marketing is that each participating country is a rugby league country and the teams are the pinnacle of the sport in that country (with all the junior pathways beneath them). But in reality this isn’t the case. It is a very unusual tournament given the players are not products of the country they represent (despite heritage affiliation).

        • November 21st 2017 @ 5:41pm
          Justin Kearney said | November 21st 2017 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

          Untrue in brief. In fact the opposite is true. Where in the marketting does it state each is a rugby league country? And why do you have to make stuff up to prove a point?

          • November 21st 2017 @ 9:43pm
            Mack said | November 21st 2017 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

            Very good points inbrief and absolutely correct. Its like when people talk about the “success” of Lebanon as sure to generate interest and growth in RL in that country… sorry what?! Was it even on tv? What viewing figures did they get? What pathways are available and what is the junior system like? Sorry for not being a believer but when yr entire team comes from western Sydney and your captain when interviewed speaks with a heavy Aussie twang its hard not to be a sceptic. Ditto Scotland, Italy, Samoa, Fiji, tonga et al.

            • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:31pm
              Cathar Treize said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

              I believe OSN Sports have the rights to broadcast the RLWC into the Middle East & Lebanon. Lebanon have 2 senior competitions, one club based & the other in its university system. They also have schools rugby league.

              For a country where organised sport is becoming increasingly difficult at times, they are a growing organisation

              • November 22nd 2017 @ 10:07pm
                Cathar Treize said | November 22nd 2017 @ 10:07pm | ! Report

                Added, Lebanon’s participation & performance in this RLWC, whether we agree on the number of heritage players or not, will take rugby league hopefully to the next level in Lebanon, a market of 6 million people similar in size to Ireland & scotland.

                Its also a very important geographical bridge for rugby league being close to so many of the sport’s more recent development spots like Greece, Italy & Malta & its links with the Australian Lebanese community gives it a powerful avenue for garnering financial support. Heard merchandise for Lebanon went through the roof.