Fijian born and raised winger Semi Radradra has expressed his desire to represent New South Wales and Australia. This despite the fact that he has only been in Australia a few years and even under the new State Of Origin eligibility rules he does not qualify to play for New South Wales.
The worst part is that Australia is actually considering selecting him!
Australia is not short of wingers. In fact, Australia is really only short of quality front rowers. There should be no way in the world that the strongest Rugby League nation is looking to take quality players away from the 2013 World Cup semi finalists in Fiji.
Of course, this all comes back to the absolutely ridiculous eligibility rules we have in Rugby League.
After the World Cup players are allowed to switch nations as they like. Radradra would qualify to play for Australia under the residency rule as he has lived here for three years. He would not be allowed to play State Of Origin however.
If selected by Australia you could add Radradra’s name to a long list of players who have chopped and changed which nation they have played for in the search for money.
Ben Te’o is a great example of that. Born and raised in New Zealand, Te’o moved to Australia at the age of 17 to play Rugby League. Te’o played for Samoa in the 2008 and switched to become an Australian so that he could then play for Queensland. Now Te’o plans to switch to Rugby Union in 2015 with an eye on playing for England at the next Rugby Union World Cup.
If the administrators of the game do not put any value in representative Rugby League, the players won’t, and by extension the supporters of the game and general sporting fans will continue to ridicule international Rugby League.
Radradra signed a big contract this week to stay at the Parramatta Eels and the Fijian Rugby League team does play on a regular basis. It is not as though Radradra is missing out of showing his skills at international level by staying loyal to Fiji and it certainly hasn’t hurt his ability to earn money in the NRL.
Australia needs to stop stripping talent it does not need from other countries and then wondering why it finds it hard to get a decent test match out of anyone else.