It comes as a shock, I know, but it is obvious that Australia is scrapping the bottom of the barrel as far as playing talent goes.
That is the only conclusion I can come to with regards to the news that Newcastle Knights winger Akuila Uate is looking to turn his back of playing for his home country of Fiji, having played for them just 10 months ago, and now wants to become eligible to play for New South Wales and Australia.
What a disgrace!
This is a move that is born out of the complete lack of leadership within the game in Australia. Where the good of the game doesn’t matter one bit, and where everyone is just out to get as much money and glory as they possibly can.
If we had real leadership in Australian Rugby League, Uate and his manager would have got a phone call a long time ago.
“Firstly, you are Fijian, not Australian. Secondly, you won’t be playing for New South Wales or Australia. Not this year, not next year. Never. Never ever.”.
Its a pretty simple scenario. Australia has more players than any other Rugby League playing nation in the world. We don’t need to be importing players and changing rules to have talented players in our representative sides!
Now, some people will point to the likes of say Petero Civoneceva or Lote Tuqiri and saying “Wait a minute League Freak, what about those imports?”.
Two points I want to make.
First of all, the players that have played for Australia that weren’t born here have all grown up here. They went to school from an early age here, learned how to play football here. They are Aussies. Hell, Civoniceva has a stronger Aussie accent than I do!
My second point is that the Queensland Rugby League for years has not paid any attention to eligibility rules at State Of Origin level. They will pick anyone they can out of self interest and greed.
This means we have seen some players picked for Queensland, and then those same players have been picked by an Australian Rugby League that has thrown their hands in the air and said “Hey, he is a Queenslander, so he must be an Australian. What are we supposed to do?”.
I’m thinking along the lines of Brad Thorn and Tonie Carroll here. Neither of them should ever have played for Australia.
There are a couple of players that some English fans are imports that simply are not. Willie Tonga is one, probably because of his last name, and Israel Folau is another. Both were born and raised in Australia.
As the game of Rugby League looks to scrape out some sort of credibility at international level, our administrators should be going out of their way to encourage the games stars to play for the nation of their birth, or cultural origin.
With the explosion of Pacific Island talent in the National Rugby League, we are seeing true stars of the game from New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and the like. We need to encourage these stars to play for their home countries, which will in tern strengthen the game as a whole and actually make the Australian test jersey a more values product in the long term.
Instead we have a bunch of mindless idiots running the game. In a country that could field 5 international teams with ease, we’ll see the NSWRL and ARL trying to entice an ok Fijian player to turn his back on his country with maybe the slight possibility that he could play a game or two for New South Wales.
Its a bloody disgrace and shows why we need to completely dissolve the current administration we have in Australia. None of these idiots should get anywhere near the new administrative structure that ends up being set up. Not a single one of them.
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