FURTHER to our treatise last week on international eligibility, and thanks to several readers, Discord has come up with a formula that would strengthen Origin’s integrity and that of international football – at the same time.
The only reason we have residency allowing players to turn out for Queensland and NSW is that we must have it at national level – to bring us into line with other major sports.
Cut the link between Origin and Australia and you can KEEP residency for the Australian team but SCRAP it for the State sides.
What does that mean? James Tamou and Aquila Uate can play for Australia, but not Origin, unless it can be proven that their first senior rugby league after the age of 16 was in NSW or Queensland.
And, chances are, they wouldn’t want to play for Australia in that case – which helps the international game. If Origin is first senior football after the age of 16 and that’s it, it’s more fair dinkum.
But if someone qualifies under that stringent criteria and still qualifies under the (different) international rules for another country, let em play!
I want to clarify what I was saying last week – I am not proposing Sam Burgess play Origin. What I am proposing is a situation under which Nathan Cayless could have played his entire career for NSW and New Zealand – because he qualified for both.
He is a fair dinkum New South Welshman, having played his junior football in western Sydney, and a bonafide Kiwi under international rules, through parentage. So let him play for both!
That’s what’s great about the internet and social media. A column like this is just the first big Tweet and by throwing the conversation open and reading everything, answers present themselves.
I hope the ARLC is reading.
SPEAKING of social media, I’m currently in Manila with the team that Facebook built – the Philippines Tamaraws. There was a Facebook page for the Philippines Rugby League before there was a Philippines Rugby League.
People just got on board with the idea and it has turned into a fully-kitted out team including NRL stars on tour in two countries.
I’m going to shoot a hole in my own logic before someone else does. On one hand, I say you need to maximise the number of people who see and play rugby league as a prime directive.
On the other hand, I am defending a game last Sunday in Bangkok that attracted 150 people, as a worthwhile exercise.
Having mounted a damning argument against myself, I am now about to launch a spirited defence, also of myself.
Yes, the game itself on Sunday may not have had the impact we hoped for on possible spectators. And if the team representing Thailand had been made up of foreign based players, any positive impact would have been negligible.
But, as the score would suggest, the team consisted of local rugby union players who can be relied on to spread the word. Next year there is talk of a nines tournament and tri-series against the Philippines and Japan.