Mal Meninga

It has been well documented in the past that Queensland coach Mal Meninga has made approaches to convince New Zealand players to play for QLD – but this time around, he has no plans to do that with Josh Papalii or Sam Kasiano, both of whom recently pledged their allegiance to New Zealand.

“There’s no need for me to do that. I have had a yarn with them but I just want to see where their head is at,” Meninga said.

“It is not up to me to persuade them. I would love to have them in that program but it is up to them.

“From my perspective … to play for Queensland they have got to have a passion to do that.

“If they have that passion, so be it and let them get on with their lives.”

Despite all the confusion, however, Meninga says that it is imperative that Origin eligibility rules are rectified, as soon as possible.

With all the loopholes available to players, Meninga sees it as imperative that something is done to prevent players playing for states or countries that they are not entirely eligible for.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to re-address the rules, let’s be honest,” Meninga said.

“The way the rules are they (Kasiano, Papalii) have every right to make a decision about who they want to play for.

“These kids have been playing in the Queensland junior comps for a number of years.

“But I feel for them. Let’s hope we can get more clarity. It’s fairly grey at the moment – we need some decisions that are black and white.”

In what is hopefully the solution, the Australian Rugby League Commission are preparing a new model for eligibility – one that will see players ineligible to represent QLD or NSW, if they have spent less than 50% of their life in Australia.

That in turn, would rule Kasiano out of playing, given that he only arrived in Australia at the age of 16.

If it was up to Meninga, however, he would start a system based on age – a system in which Kasiano would again, be ineligible for.

“It should be based on age,” he said.

“If a player comes from anywhere in the world before say 13 or 14 then his rugby league development has been through that junior system whether it be Queensland or NSW and he should be eligible for that respective state.

“Take the pressure off the players themselves and have a clear cut, definite age.

“If they come after that time – whether they are Kiwi or English – that is what defines them.”

By ricky

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