By STEVE MASCORD
HE would never dream of playing for the same state as his dad but NSW and Melbourne forward – and new parent – Ryan Hoffman wants rugby league to introduce the father and son rule at club level.
After a four-year break from State Of Origin football, Hoffman lines up for the Blues against a Queensland side featuring Storm team-mates Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith at ANZ Stadium next Wednesday night.
Rugby league has introduced a father-and-son rule at interstate level this year, allowing players to apply to represent the same state as their father if they do not qualify in any other way.
Hoffman’s dad Jay made three appearances for Queensland in 1979 and 1980.
“That was pre Origin but I wouldn’t want to play for somewhere I’ve never lived and don’t have any affinity to,” he said.
“I’m NSW all the way – even though I did play Queensland 19s because that was when Melbourne was with Brissie Norths and because I played a couple of games for Brissie Norths I was Queensland eligible.
“I think it’s a great rule, though. It works well in the AFL and I think they should bring it into the NRL. Why not?
“It would be great. You look at Josh Morris and Brett Morris at the Saints – there’ve been plenty of fathers and sons play for the same club. You want to see that, you want to see kids coming through.”
The father and son rule has been around in various guises in Australian football since 1949. If it was introduced in the NRL, the Storm may have picked up a new recruit last Wednesday.
That’s when Hoffman’s wife Mel gave birth to the couple’s first child Zackary. Ryan says it would have been ideal if there had been a Melbourne Origin game this year.
“It would have been perfect with the bub being born last week,” he said.
“My only focus for the first couple of days was about the little fella but now I’m in camp, I’ve got a job to do. We’ll get some time off over the weekend and hopefully I’ll be able to duck back and say hello.
“In terms of NSW winning the series, it’s great to have two games up here in Sydney.”
Hoffman senior spent a year at Wigan in the wake of the 2010 salary cap crisis but tells Fairfax Media: “I never gave up on rep footy.
“One of the reasons I came back was to play rep footy, along with winning a premiership. I knew I could still do it. It was just a matter of me going out and proving I could.
“I put in a lot of hard work.”
Filed for: THE AGE