DISCORD 2013: Edition 19

DiscordBy STEVE MASCORD

DON’T be surprised to see a host of players switch allegiances away from Australia after the State of Origin series – and then switch right back in time for next year’s interstate encounters.

Discord hears the Tonga-Samoa game struck quite a chord with many players of island heritage last month. They all know the rules – they can apply to change their country of election once in a World Cup cycle.

Most – Feleti Mateo aside – haven’t done that, as defined under the rules, since 2008.

From the incumbent NSW side, Jarryd Hayne (Fiji), Michael Jennings (Tonga) and maybe Tony Williams (Tonga) could all be playing against the green and golds in Europe.

From the incumbent Queensland side, Ben Teo could change back to Samoa – although the exact date of his most recent switch would need to be checked. Petero Civoniceva will also be captaining Fiji.

Had Lebanon not missed out on the World Cup on a count-back in the qualifiers, the Cedars could have called on Tim Mannah and Robbie Farah.

Now, you might ask “if they played for someone else in the last World Cup, and have played for Australia since, how can they switch again?

Good question. I had to make a calls to Tas Baitieri and Andrew Hill to check on this. Firstly, after each World Cup, there is a clean slate. You don’t have to change your country of election. There is also mandatory stand-down period of two years that works in conjunction with being permitted to change your country of election once in every World Cup cycle.

So if effectively, if you swapped countries more than two years ago, you can switch back. This could have an interesting impact on Aquila Uate. His first Test for Australia was in October, 2011.

He played for Fiji in 2009 and then switched to Australia. Effectively, he is not allowed to represent Fiji for two years after first appearing for Australia. It’s possible he could get a clearance to play for the Bati at the World Cup by a matter of days, if he missed out on Tim Sheens’s squad.

Mateo, however, changed his country of election in the last year or so; he can’t play for Tonga.

Below the level of Origin players, there is an absolute slew of players ready to change their country of election. Most teams will be full of Super League and NRL stars.

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CONGRATULATIONS to the Western Cape Rugby League in South Africa, which has gained formal recognition from its local sports council.

The South African government does not recognised rugby league as a separate sport to rugby union.

Given this rather major handicap, many people expect the country’s bid to host the 2017 World Cup to prove futile.

But if the public has the same attitude as the government and can’t tell the rugby codes apart, Discord reckons it would be a raging success!

Meanwhile, here’s a story about the launch of our great game in Dubai!  And journalist Robert Burgin is launching rugby league in Brazil. Find him on Facebook if you are interested in helping.

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A few issues you might have expected to read about in Discord this week:

1) ASADA. I had a look at League HQ and there was plenty of reading on that topic for you already;
2) David Morrow. What can you say? He made a mistake but David is not at all a hateful person in my experience;
3) Andrew Johns. Not a football story and how can any meaningful comment be made without knowing what actually happened?
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COMMENTS time and I’ve got to say I’m happily surprised at the response the Monday Set Of Six column has been getting

read on

1 Comment

  1. The constant switching of nations has got to stop! It is holding out sport back internationally and does nothing for us in the long term. Countries should have squads full of committed players so they can build their player pool and national profile over time. Instead of looking for the quick fix, let’s try and build the game so that we have legitimate competitive international teams in the future instead of farcical teams every 4 years!

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