It is sure to kick-start the eligibility furore once again, with Knights centre Dane Gagai revealing that he is actually eligible for the Kiwis, due to family ties.
With the rules coming under fire of late, particularly when Cowboys prop James Tamou had initially committed to New Zealand, only to switch to Australia – Gagai is the latest player to acknowledge his dual-eligibility status.
Despite all the talk of it however, Gagai is in no rush to make a decision as to which country he may eventually play for.
“My mum is a Kiwi, so I can play for New Zealand. I have a mix of cultures,” Gagai said.
“I’ve never lived in New Zealand I was born and raised in Australia but I’m proud of my Kiwi heritage.”
Although representing the Junior Kangaroos last year, the current rules still state that Gagai is eligible for New Zealand, and can still change his mind.
One thing that may work in New Zealand’s favour to acquire Gagai, is that his cousin Josh Hoffman, is the current fullback for the Kiwis.
“I’m not sure if the Kiwis know about me but my cousin ‘Hoffy’ (Hoffman) is a Kiwi,” Gagai said.
“My mum and Hoffy’s dad (Shane) are brother and sister. We grew up together in Mackay, we were next door neighbours for years and we’ve been inseparable ever since.”
With the question no doubt playing in everyone’s mind, Gagai has said that Hoffman has not talked to him, or even mentioned the Kiwis to him, and the prospect of playing for them.
“Josh doesn’t mention the Kiwis to me so there’s no pressure there. I have a lot to learn in the NRL first but I wouldn’t rule anything out.”
Tony Kemp, who is the New Zealand Rugby League High Performance Manager, says that they are indeed aware of Gagai’s eligibility for New Zealand, and had been watching him play recently.
“At this stage, we’re going around talking to guys and Dane is on our extended list of Kiwis to keep an eye on,” Kemp said.