Last month ARLC Chairman John Grant was asked about the ridiculous situation in the State Of Origin series that saw both Queensland and New South Wales actively recruiting players who were not born and raised in Australia. His reply was pathetic and limp wristed.
“I don’t think the State of Origin rules are going to change, I think more the issue is the international rules,”
As if the ARL has nothing to do with the running of the State Of Origin series. Can you imagine what would happen if any other country decided to tell the ARL how to run the series? They would get laughed at! It was a naive, stupid quote by Grant.
Still, if it is up to the RLIF, surely they can simply fix this problem. After all, we are looking at heading into the 2013 Rugby League World Cup with New Zealands two best front rowers likely to line up for Australia. That you would think would prompt the NZRL to push heavily for change to the eligibility rules, right?
Scott Carter is the head of the RLIF. He is also the Chairman of the New Zealand Rugby League. I know that is a gigantic conflict of interest, but ion this situation, that is probably a good thing. Finally the NZRL has someone in a position to make changes and protect the future of New Zealand test football.
Carter described the current eligibility rules as “sound and clear” and claimed that the State Of Origin eligibility farce came down to the fact that the ARL insists that if you play State Of Origin, you must be available for Australia.
He basically passed the buck. The head of the RLIF just endorsed the current mess of eligibility rules that allows players to switch countries at will with at least 11 different loop holes, and then if you don’t qualify that way, countries are allowed to apply for a special exemption for players, something they always receive!
It is clear what Carters agenda is. He brought up Feleti Mateo’s situation where by he played for Tonga in the last Rugby League World Cup, but this year committed to playing for NSW and Australia, even earning a place in the City side this year.
Carter inferred that the real problem was that State Of Origin rules didn’t let a player like Mateo play for New South Wales, and then also play for Tonga.
What Carter failed to mention is that, Mateo wasn’t born in Tonga! He was born and raised in Australia! In fact Mateo is the very best example of why the current international eligibility rules are a complete farce because the fact is that if Mateo decides he wants to play for Tonga again in the next Rugby League World Cup, no one will stop him!
So the head of the ARL has said that State Of Origin, and therefore Australian eligibility rules are nothing to do with the ARL. You also have the head of the RLIF claiming that eligibility rules are “sounds and clear” and therefore do not need changed and that the RLIF has no control over State Of Origin eligibility anyway.
Great! No one is in charge! Let me step forward!
You play for the country or the state you were born in.
Thats it! Try and come up from a set of rules that are more “sounds and clear” than that!
I don’t care what other sports do. I also don’t care if a handful of players born in non Rugby League countries are forever locked out from playing representative football. Thats just tough shit! We can not destroy the credibility of the entire sport for the benefit of a handful of players. If we need to come up with a “barbarians” style of team for players born outside of NSW and QLD or in countries with not international Rugby League team, so be it!
The would wouldn’t have ended if Peter Sterling was forced to play for Queensland. He has said so himself. Time wouldn’t have stopped had Hazem El Masri not play in the single State Of Origin game he took part in. Peter Wallace was born in Melbourne, but if he hadn’t played his 4 games for New South Wales, would we have stopped playing State Of Origin football all together?
The NSWRL and the QLD care about nothing other than winning the State Of Origin series. If you win the series, you make more money. They will recruit anyone they possibly can without a second thought to the wider effects on the game as a whole.
The ARLC also cares little about the wider effects on the game. Why should they? From their point of view, State Of Origin ratings are going up. Games are sellouts. The series generates tens of millions of dollars every season, why would they change anything?
The NZRL doesn’t want to tighten eligibility rules. It would stop them selecting Pacific Islanders in the Kiwi’s test squad, something they have done for decades. For all their talk of setting up a New Zealand Origin series, it is clear they are too incompetent and powerless to even get close to doing such a thing, and if Kiwi’s can play in State Of Origin and then also play for Australia it means the NZRL doesn’t actually have to do anything. They would be happy with that!
The RFL has officially put in place a policy where by Wales, Scotland and Ireland are feeder teams for England. With the degrading English talent pool and the need to rely on non English players to form a team that is beyond the capabilities of an “emerging nation”, why would the RFL look to change eligibility rules?
France likes the occasional import in their ranks and nations like Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and the like enjoy picking Australia and New Zealand born players in their sides.
Looking at all of that…..do you honestly think we are going to see any change at all to eligibility rules?
Once again Rugby League has its hands tied by self interests and administrators who don’t care about the greater good of the game.
Stuff.co.uk: Australia gets Origin blame from top official
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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